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Live Review: The Babe Rainbow, Banana Gun, Luke Spook

20 August 2018 | 1:08 pm | Luke Saunders

"A great, laid-back psychedelic journey with so much confetti it started to feel like a party."

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Luke Spook opened to a half-full room. The former Pinheads member has recently hit the scene with a '60s-soaked debut EP Waking Up/Feeling Bad and it's a damn fine trip. Isabella rings reminiscent of The Beatles with a bit of an extra punch. The crowd still had cold feet but the music was hitting the spot.

Ducking under rainbow flags and other party adornments, five-piece Banana Gun took over the stage as they locked into 'the' groove. Yeah, you know that groove that commands you dance? That one, and the crowd loved it. Sporting a beret and acoustic guitar, the lead singer Kevin Loyd was not below a wah-soaked solo and drove the band through the tempo changes and happy '60s vocal harmonies. "Can we get a large pizza in the drummer's foldback," he joked as the band got the sound right on stage. They ramped up the energy for the last few songs as the sold-out crowd packed in and grooved along. Before their final song, a dedication was made to the "late, great Aretha Franklin", which received a warm applause.

The curtains are drawn and a restless crowd of young punters wait eagerly. In a shower of confetti, The Babe Rainbow jump straight into The Magician as the curtains are pulled back. They have certainly found their own sound with their last two albums, chiefly due to drummer and vocalist Angus Dowling's falsetto, which carried the band through the bliss of their soft blues.

The past 18 months have seen the band sign to Flightless Records and release two great albums, the self-titled The Babe Rainbow and the more recent Double Rainbow. Although they share the same staple sound there is one chief difference. The Babe Rainbow is sprinkled with studio magic, which can't be replicated on stage. As the band moved through their set this became increasingly apparent. With seven members playing, including three guitarists, songs like Supermoon and Eureka rock a bit harder than on the record and have the crowd maniacally entranced. However, Johny Says Stay Cool and Monky Disco fell short of the standard set by the album and thus felt somewhat empty.

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That being said, The Babe Rainbow still delivered a great, laid-back psychedelic journey with so much confetti it started to feel like a party. Crowd favourite Peace Blossom Boogy and the Allen Ginsberg inspired Sunflower Sutra went off with a bang as the wacky circus reached its peak and the set rounded out to a close. To see these guys with the sun shining down on a grassy field would be far too perfect. Oh well, at least we can hear the album play for now with all the sound samples and fairy dust, the way they intended.