Giants of Science + Hits + No Anchor @ The Troubadour

 

I always felt disappointed (and a bit guilty) that I didn’t go to what at the time might have been Giants Of Science‘s last show at Fat Louie’s in the city back in June 2007.  At the time I had no idea that it might be the end of the band (with drummer Steve Lynagh heading off to Europe for a couple of years) and was instead at The Troubadour watching The Apartments and Texas Tea.  No disrespect, but a show at Fat Louie’s Pool Hall is no way to end your band, especially not one as good as Giants had been the times I had seen them play since moving to Brisbane in 2005.   But fast-forward to April 2009 and normal service has been restored, with Steve back from Europe and erstwhile guitarist/vocalist Ben Tuite back in the fold (having originally left the band, leaving them as a three-piece in the months leading up to that Fat Louie’s performance). 

For a band that have hardly played together (I think I heard they did a secret 1am show at The Troubadour a few weeks before this gig) they are remarkably tight and the sound is just immense (The Troubadour living up to its reputation as having the best sound system in the Valley).  I only stay down the front photographing for a few songs, having claimed my space straight after Hits had finished playing, as it’s a sell out tonight and very packed, although ‘Window Seat’ and ‘The Letter B’ seem to go on for at least 20 minutes between them.  Even though I’m right at the front, at the end of a front row comprising only of photographers, it’s still not a great position, with Ben Tuite’s microphone stand in the way of getting a clear shot of him and the lighting fall off across the stage from where I’m stood meaning Salter and Tanzie are mainly in the dark.  I seem to be cursed every time I stick up for The Troubadour lighting and say that it’s not as bad as I make out, as invariably the next time I go there it is as bad as I make it out to be.  So it’s back down to shutter speeds of 1/30 at times to try and keep the ISO down at something reasonable; a bit hit and miss but I still end up with some ok shots.  One thing that never changes is the difficulty in getting good photos of Ben Salter; similar to Ed Kuepper he hardly ever opens his eyes.  Still, it’s really good to have the band back and in such fine fettle and I’m looking forward to album No. 3, which should be out next year sometime.

Hits are the main support tonight.  I remember seeing them a couple of years ago and enjoying them but tonight they are disappointing (and I have since heard from other people that it wasn’t one of their better shows).  They start well for maybe the first 3 songs but then there is a long mid-set lull before they pick it up again in the last song.  The main issue is Evil Dick’s vocals, which come in somewhere between John Lydon and Shaun Ryder; it works for a few songs but after that there doesn’t seem to be much variety in delivery or tone.  However, they are undeniably a good band to photograph (Troubadour lighting not withstanding), with Evil Dick resplendent in his finest pimp suit, and it’s always a delight to photograph Tamara, who is a music photographers dream and who you could happily take photos of  all night whilst not even thinking about turning your camera away to focus on anyone else in the band.     

No Anchor open the evening and it’s a delight to finally get to see them; we seem have missed each other like ships in the night for far too long. It’s a brutal noise and even after years of aural abuse it only takes one song for my ears to start ringing.  Under the layers of noise there’s melody and there’s also an infectious stoner-rock groove going on, shades of  Kyuss in some places, shades of Sunn O))) in others. It may have taken too long for our paths to cross but it is definitely worth the wait.

Some more photos on Flickr.

6 Responses to “Giants of Science + Hits + No Anchor @ The Troubadour”

  1. Stephen says:

    This was a great night, and a great return for the GoS. To be honest, I absolutely loved all three bands. If not for bolter-from-nowhere McKisko, Hits and No Anchor would be duking it out for the spot as my fave new Brisband (even though neither are, really, that new at all).

    I adored Evil Dick’s sunnies, too.

    Oh and speaking of the frustrating closed-eyes thing — did you notice that Dean Schwereb mostly drums with his eyes closed? It’s very unusual … seems fine when you watch, but it just looks odd in a picture.

  2. Justin says:

    I like Hits’ songs on MySpace, I think it’s live where they can be hit and miss. have another two blogs on their way where Hits played; one was as The Troubadour and one I did really enjoy. Saw McKisko support Bon Iver and liked the songs where she built up the tracks using her loop pedal but found some of it too dry and not that memorable. Will try and check her out again sometime soon. I don’t know if I have a favourite ‘new’ Brisbane band; most of the ones I like are at least a couple of years old. There were a few bands on Before Hollywood’s Stranded compilation that I did like and keep meaning to check out – Little Scout and Nova Scotia are a couple of the top of my head I know I wanted to go and see.

    I did notice that about Dean when looking through Saturday night’s photos; I haven’t got a single photo of him with his eyes open so wasn’t sure if it was just really bad luck in timing or he does play with his eyes shut, but sounds like it might be the latter.

  3. Stephen says:

    I recently heard Little Scout on 4zzz and liked what I heard. I’d like to catch them live. We might have to agree to disagree on McKisko and Hits. :)

    My neck is so sore today after that Soho set…

  4. […] I was expecting more from Evil Dick in the fashion stakes, he was less dressed up than he was at The Troubadour show a couple weeks ago. Tamara seemed quite quiet and less animated as well; I was waiting in anticipation of some good […]

  5. […] recent lukewarm shows at The Troubadour and at The Hi-Fi, at the third attempt the widespread and vocal support of Hits in Brisbane makes […]

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