Words by Ian Hooper
Three sweet-hearted indie bands presented their talents within a venue littered with decor comprised of pornographic imagery. A cool February night in Adelaide’s West. A US band that seemed to speak with British accents. It was a Thursday night of juxtaposition.
The Winter Gypsy opened the evening with a collection of soothing indie tracks that flited between folk and pop. Apart from obvious comparisons to the sadly departed The Middle East and Bon Iver, singer/guitarist Tushar Singh showed off his well-pitched breathy vocals that sometimes ventured into the crooning territory of a smoothed King Krule. Well-placed guitars echoed through the thin strums and plucks of acoustic rhythm, and the swap-in for some freeform trumpet that swum above the reverb rather than a lead guitar gave the set a stronger sense of a complete sound. Although I felt pushed to my brass limit for the evening, it provided a soulful warmth that I hope continues without becoming their focal point.
A locked-up rooftop ensured that there was no escaping the overdriven and heavily-effected guitars of Blush Response. The organised chaos showed off the depth of experience hidden amongst the band, and within half of the opening song’s introduction all pedals were tweaked and blaring the audience through tunnels of string-bending 90s-revivalist riffs in the vein of My Bloody Valentine and the more recent and higher-tempo Flyying Colours. A ever-building cover of Low and a strong closer exhibited that this isn’t a band that just turns everything up to hide imperfection. They can guide mayhem and make it something you want more of.
A thin crowd condensed on the Rocket dancefloor for the High Highs as they begun a set of well-polished and charming tracks. Playing much of their latest release many of the songs felt like pieces of a dream being arranged. In one way, it was beautifully consistent; in another sense, it did kind of glide by without much contemplation. The live translation of their recording rang true, but for me I found it difficult for the music to reflect the same level of intimacy that makes it the perfect accompaniment to either a relaxing coffee on a Saturday morning or an urgent deadline that requires transcendental focus.