Review: Stonefield, RACKETT, White Bleaches at Fat Controller

Words by Zoe Walker

Every now and then the not-so-humble basement on the corner of Bank Street, transforms into a rock arena and it really shows the diversity of Fat Controller as a live music destination.

Kicking off the 'All You Can Eat' lineup was the experimental, electro, pop, rock and everything in-between band RACKETT. The all-girl power-house from Sydney is relatively new on the scene but they play like they’ve got something to prove. Starting around 9:30pm they thrashed out an energetic show to a fairly sparse dancefloor. RACKETT’s debut EP is set to land early next year and if their fuzzy single ‘Bats’ is anything to go by, we might have a new wave of King Gizzer’s on our hands.

Melbourne garage psych rockers, White Bleaches took to the stage and were greeted by a dancefloor that was slowly filling up as punters inched forward. This band is a well-rehearsed, polished ensemble that knows what they’re doing – and they do it oh so right. While they definitely deserved a few more ticket sales, the basement, which can often be a little claustrophobic, became an intimate and sacred psych space. White Bleaches' style is a brand of grungy psych rock, with thumping basslines and riffs that will ring in your ears long after the song is over. Their set included the four tunes from their self-titled EP that was released earlier this year. Most notable tracks ‘Bad Character’ and ‘Ease The Pain’ sound like classic radio hits that you wouldn’t expect from such a young, up and coming band. But as mentioned above, these guys are total pros and are clearly ready to take on much bigger shows.

The time came for Stonefield to take over and while the venue had filled up a little more, they could have done with a larger crowd, especially considering this is a band that has done excessive festival rounds, including Glastonbury. Nonetheless, the crowd was an entertaining mixed bag of die-hard fans.

From the moment they stepped on stage, the four sisters from country Victoria had a stage presence that was effortlessly cool. So cool, in fact, that they somehow walk the line between total rock veterans and just a few girls that enjoy jamming out together like it’s no big deal. The eldest of the sisters, Amy, was on fire the entire night, smashing drums relentlessly and delivering truly enormous vocals – this girl has got serious stamina.  They tore through their debut album, As Above, So Below, which was highlighted by the instant hits ‘Changes’ and ‘Love.’

The evolution of their music since 2010 is a real testament to their craft as gifted musicians who have a lot of ambition and even more to offer. Playing for just over an hour, the set barely left room for a breather. One of the most memorable songs of the set was a rendition of Shocking Blue’s 1969 hit, ‘Venus’, which, apparently, Stonefield was born to reincarnate. Older tracks like ‘Love You Deserve’ and their break-out hit ‘Through The Clover’ injected extra liveliness into the crowd and had a few fans thrashing about.

All in all, Stonefield delivered an extremely natural and professional performance and it’s clear they work hard at translating their music into a special live experience. For such a young band with strong ambition, let’s hope they can eventually ditch their hospo jobs to pursue music full-time.