Live Review: The Ancients, Twerps, Krakatau

22 May 2014 | 9:34 am | Gabrielle Easter

When the lights are switched on and everyone clears out of the venue, The Ancients feel like leftovers after the main act.

Prog-rock band Krakatau open the night and set a sauntering pace. Twerps enter next and our energy amps up. The beanie-wearing crowd thickens as the four-piece head to the stage. After touring the US and playing sold out gigs with carefree Canadian Mac DeMarco last year, Twerps prove they've secured their place as an indie-pop band that blends catchy tunes and shoegaze elements. Marty Frawley's opening, “How ya goin'?” sets the congenial, unhurried vibe of the night. Dreamin gets the crowd dancing and Jules MacFarlane brings her vocal talents to the Courtney Barnett-esque This Guy, taking over from the band's usual lead singer, Frawley. While they're reluctant to show too much enthusiasm, Twerps' chilled-out music resonates from the moment they hit the stage.

The crowd disperses before the headliners appear on stage, which shows just how much of a following Twerps have garnered. The Ancients eventually arrive in their latest incarnation: mainstays of the band – lead vocalist Jonathon Michell and bassist Georgina Ward – are joined by guitarist Hamish O'Neill, keyboardist Sophie Perillo and drummer Julian Patterson. Reminiscent of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, The Ancients bring calm, inoffensive, dreamy sounds to the stage. The single off their latest Night Bus album, Molokai, is a highlight. This song exemplifes The Ancients' jangly guitars and Michell's soft, incomprehensible lyrics. While the band's psych-pop music is undoubtedly beautiful, ideal for a chilled-out Sunday session or an early afternoon summer festival slot, the songs tend to sound repetitive.

There isn't much inter-band member interaction and the crowd now talk amongst themselves. Michell does address the crowd on occasion, offering, “Was that an ironic appreciation of the song?” as we clap. “But I really appreciate it,” he adds. “I really do.”
Every now and again a and drum crescendo offers hope of what's to come, but a climax never follows. The energy is lost and never regained and this gig dawdles toward the finish line. This talented band is let down tonight by their inability to capture the audience's attention. When the lights are switched on and everyone clears out of the venue, The Ancients feel like leftovers after the main act.