Bloods + Major Leagues @ The Worker’s Club, Melbourne, 30.08.2013

Bloods @ The Worker's Club, Friday 30 August 2013

I’m always surprised whenever there’s one of those lists that places Melbourne at the top of the most liveable cities.  Although I only visit for a week or two every year, I always find it extremely overrated compared to its reputation.  You can rationalise it by considering if money was no object, would you live in Melbourne (or any of the other highly ranked Australian cities, Brisbane not included though, much to the chagrin of the locals) if you had the choice.  Even if you were extremely wealthy, surely you would want to live in the world’s most liveable city and with that all that money, life would be even better than for your average person?  It doesn’t stack up for me in the slightest.

Once again work brings me down to Victoria, a week in Traralgon and a total of seven nights in the city but gig-wise, it’s pretty slim pickings.  As in any Australian major city, there’s little happening during the week and a glut of shows between Thursday and Saturday nights, although I think I might have picked a duff week as the street press listings show the upcoming weekends and weeks to be far more interesting.  Perusing the shows on offer over the weekend, there’s two that pique my interest.  In the end I don’t make it to the Saturday night show (Cannon at The Gasometer) but get out on my first night in town to go and see Bloods at The Worker’s Club.  It also has the added attraction of having Major Leagues as the major support.  I always try and see a Brisbane act when I’m down in Melbourne if I can, although that’s often helped by coinciding my visits with Brisbane acts I like and would probably go and see in Brisbane anyway (e.g. Sixfthick, Gentle Ben & His Sensitive SideDZ Deathrays, No Anchor, Ben Salter etc), rather than being some sort of flag-waving, chest-beating, local pride, QUEENSLANDER!!! thing.

The Worker’s Club is a strange little place.  The front half is very much your traditional old school Melbourne bar, but the band room at the back has all the charm of a window-less chipboard box that was built in a weekend so that they could put some bands on and it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that was actually what happened and how long the construction took.  Fancy, it is not.  One thing I do like about it (and I have been here before, when I saw Spiral Stairs a few years ago) is that it’s the nearest place on Brunswick Street to the City (where I’m staying), so it’s a quick walk there and back, as opposed to somewhere like The Gasometer or the Northcote Social Club, which are miles away (yes, I probably should use the tram).  It also has $10 pints of Bulmer’s cider, which although still a rip off $10, is still infinitely better value than the $8+ for the small bottles you get in Brisbane .

Am sure every time I go a gig in Melbourne, there’s at least one band with a singer with ultra-tight jeans who’s bare-chested under his leather jacket and tonight is no exception thanks to the terribly-named Richie1250 & The Brides of Christ.

I think it’s a Melbourne thing: as the ‘official’ music capital of Australia, everyone tries far too hard down here.  Even walking around the CBD, it’s hard to work out if all the terrible dressed people are being fashionable or are involved with the Melbourne Fashion Week shows that are taking place around town.  I lost count of the number of twenty-something girls wearing socks and sandals.  I can never fathom out why it’s the ultimate fashion crime for men and yet the high end of fashion for women.

I wouldn’t have minded so much in regard to Richie1250, but with his round specs and scruffy beard he looks less like some kind of archetypal rock star and more like Harry Potter: The Undergraduate Years.  Plus, despite having the best part of 20 years on him, he has a far more impressive pot belly than me.  He also makes a mid-set costume change to a really cheap and nasty looking polyester suit that includes trousers with a broken zip.  If you’re going to make a mid-set change to a lounge lizard singer, you probably should be trying to impress, otherwise you’re just going to look like a poorly dressed 1970s pub singer.

Despite coming from Brisbane, I’m seeing Major Leagues for the first time down here in Melbourne.  I got sent a recent song/video from their PR people but didn’t really think too much of it.  Tonight is different and I’m completely captivated, particularly by the band’s lead guitarist.  Taking their name from a Pavement song, there’s an obvious influence but there’s also a shoegaze influence in their sound and at times they remind me of Lush.  In my eyes you can’t go too wrong if you end up sounding somewhere between Pavement and Lush.

Bloods play too long and too many songs, even though most of them are short and sweet.  Although there’s a definite template, some songs are better than others and when they play their new Golden Fang EP in full late in the set, there’s a noticeable step-up in quality.

Bloods have their moments but the scores at the end of the night would put Major Leagues well ahead on points.

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