Live Review: Spookyland, Ainslie Wills, Lanks

15 September 2014 | 2:09 pm | Annelise Ball

Spookyland resonate with the bleeding hearts of Boney.

Intriguing electronic producer Lanks stands on stage singing his heart out to a handful of punters accompanied only by his guitar and a chilled, electronic backing track.

It’s not often you see a flute solo played on the Boney stage but, during Rises And Falls, Lanks delivers one like the coolest pied piper in town.  

Ainslie Wills creates an expansive, ethereal tone next with her remarkable voice and restrained stage presence.

Accompanied by guitarist Lawrence Folvig, the two perform solemn tracks such as Mary, Ocean and Satellite through a haze of stage smoke lit up by spinning sparkles that bounce off the disco ball. The drama is palpable as the assembled punters sway back and forth, transfixed by the mood.  

A small-yet-interested crowd has built up once Spookyland takes the stage. Fresh from BIGSOUND, the four-piece bunch fronted by Marcus Gordon prove worthy of recent hype.

Gordon’s voice is definitely piercing – nasal enough to justify all the early comparisons to Bob Dylan – and the set is brief, but brimming with nervous excitement. Rock And Roll Weakling impresses with its big, bass drumbeats and overall pissed-off vibe. Gordon’s voice breaks, cracks and wails during the slow-burning build-up on The Silly Fucking Thing, which he performs with his head down and eyes closed. It’s hard not to be taken by his evident wounded vulnerability.

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Cute punters looking very much like the band members’ parents get up close to the stage, snapping photos during twang-heavy Adventure Song; they’re so obviously delighted that they almost kill Spookyland’s angry rocker look.

Spookyland finish off their short and sweet set with a banging rock number, ending with lead guitarist Liam Gordon thrashing about on the floor, classic rockstar style, shaking his guitar in front of the amp. A random punter is then overheard at the bar enthusiastically saying, “He has a young Lou Reed look, and a classic Sydney sound, very much like Ron Peno from Died Pretty.”

Whatever the comparisons may be, Spookyland have enough of their own unique, bleeding-heart feel to raise expectations, peak plenty of interest and thoroughly impress.