Live Review: The Silent Deeds, The Atlas Mountains, Nicky Sandover, Hunt For Dallas

8 February 2016 | 11:27 am | Craig English

"...with just a tiny bit more intensity, The Silent Deeds could well become a national staple."

Let's not dress this up: it's incredibly hard being a nascent artist in a scene that, because of neurotic internet-age attention spans, gives increasingly fewer shits about you. To compensate for this phenomenon, local artists have been producing some of the most tenacious and energetic live sets that they can muster.

Holding true to this reviewer's long-held contention that the opening bands are always the best, Hunt For Dallas were unapologetically loud and bombastic, determined to cut their teeth and prove that rock was not only alive and well, but flourishing. Matt Waring's slick fret-wizardry coasted somewhere between Buddy Guy and early Aerosmith to perfectly frame a bluesy striptease pulled straight out of a B-grade action film. This suddenly took an unexpected turn for the up-tempo, turning into a cacophonous jam that's not at all unlike Wolfmother's Woman. The fact that virtually all of their songs were terse and didn't overstay their welcome made them that much more poignant, and a sure sign these guys knew what they were doing.

Nicky Sandover couldn't help but evoke images of the ocean and tales of road trips in search of the perfect wave. So powerful was her ability to paint such dreamy musical landscapes with her guitar, that it almost entirely took the focus away from the stunning fact that writing a melody not unlike one that Paul Simon himself might pen wasn't beyond her capabilities. Made Of Glass channelled all three of The Waifs into a rollicking foot-stomper through which she wove her delicate voice.

Suffering from a classic case of too-many-chiefs, The Atlas Mountains struggled to find a happy sonic medium through which it appeared that every band member was actually there for a reason. The resultant rock-balladry was a torpid mess of Hootie & The Blowfish meets Creed — a pairing that nobody ever anticipated, much less wanted. It's never okay for a singer to force their voice above every instrument coming through in the mix but, God on a wheel! Taylor Smith gave it a red-hot go.

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The Silent Deeds preferred to not so much copy the sound of early '90s proletariat-rock outfits such as Hunters & Collectors and Boom Crash Opera, but rather adapt and re-shape the formula that they and so many bands like them were able to trot out, back in the day. Rusty Chair and The Darkness Of The Night were the finest examples of this throwback to a bygone era where rock and pop could happily coexist without being defiled by AutoTune and techno. They're clearly careful about the way they present their sound but, with just a tiny bit more intensity, The Silent Deeds could well become a national staple.