Live Review: The Night Terrors

9 July 2012 | 3:58 pm | Bradley Armstrong

The whole set feels as if it is one big psychedelic freakout from the wrong decade, and it works so well it’s clear that the hype behind the band is warranted.

Having undergone a change cosmetically and managerially from its former Basement 243 moniker, the Crowbar offers up a very healthy dose of alternative electronica this evening, music that until recently would never have been heard coming up from the subterranean music dwelling.

Local songstress Scraps takes to the stage a bit after 9pm. The crowd is somewhat lacking, however those present are clearly lapping up every minute of the metallic-wigged artist's vintage synth-driven pop. 1982 and Secret Paradise showcase Laura Hill's hypnotic delay-driven vocals, which are draped over simple beats that are impossible not to enjoy.

The light show is turned on and the electronic drum pads arrive onstage, yet the crowd has barely appreciated in number as Melbourne's Forces pump out their dark synth pop. The duo simply look cool, sporting classic electro moves waiting for samples to kick in during songs like the arpeggio-heavy Delight. Their set really is quite good, despite the vocals being buried too far down in the mix to really be distinguishable. The only real criticism lies in the thought that it would be nice to see more of the samples played live, not that this detracts from their solid showing, the act highlighting just why they they were recently part of Sydney's acclaimed Vivid Festival.

It's a quick turnaround considering the addition of a drum kit and a hulking Theremin, as fellow Melbournians The Night Terrors – launching their latest 12”, Monsters/ Lasers For Eyes – take to the stage. Their performance from the outset is simply engrossing, as the heavy electronica transfers across so well onto the live stage despite the occasional mixing dilemma. Watching mainman Miles Brown play the Theremin is almost like watching a world-class orchestra conductor, as every hand twitch and finger movement affects the sound and simply pulls you in – especially during latest epic, Monster, which has an almost Mogwai/SigurRos grandeur to it. The band leave little breaks in their set, Brown leaving his Theremin for stints on the bass and synth, even fitting in the occasional Vocoder duties. The whole set feels as if it is one big psychedelic freakout from the wrong decade, and it works so well it's clear that the hype behind the band is warranted and they're not some flavour of the month 'look at me I play the Theremin' ordeal.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

It's an out and out shame that the crowd tonight is so undersold given the wealth of talent on show and the inherent potential of this new venue – it feels so unjust.  What is irrefutable, however, is that those present tonight were simply blown away by proceedings, and at the end of the day you can't ask for much more than that.