Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lungs at the Espy

Tom Hobbledehoy and I ride our bikes down to St Kilda to catch Lungs at the Espy. I fucking hate the Espy. Tom fucking hates the Espy. Everyone fucking hates the Espy. But he knows the kids in the band and missed them the night before at the Arthouse, so he's keen to make the sacrifice. And me? I'm just up for adventure.

We get there early. Some guy called Phil Para is playing. Apparently he has played there every Saturday evening for the last twenty years. This could, in some cases, be a good thing. You'd get to see the artist develop, change over a period of time, like a longitudinal study. However, given that Phil plays the exact same set of classic rock covers every time he sets foot on the crappy Espy front bar stage, this is most definitely not the case. This being said, the punters there were loving every minute of it. They would not love Lungs. We find Adam from the band and he leads us up to the bandroom like groupies.

He seems nervous. He's seen the crowd. I tell him not to worry, as no one is there to see them. He doesn't take it well. He's doing his vocal exercises, working out the roughness from the show last night. This is when it strikes me. He can sing. Like, really sing. Like, if he ever gets tired of punk rock, musical theatre will always have a place in its camp, camp heart for him. People who can sing ruin punk rock bands. People who create a new way of singing because their voices aren't that good are ok, but people who could sing harmonies in barbershop quartets are not. I'm starting to think the whole night is going to suck, and console myself with the thought that as Lungs have been tacked onto the bill at the last moment, they're playing first. We can always go home early.

When they eventually get their gear ready most of the Para fans have gone, although Phil himself is lingering at the side of the stage, checking out Adam's guitar. They start to play and it's good, really good. Adam's singing, though definitely morning-television friendly, is kept low enough in the mix so as not to be distracting, and is only really clear when he stretches to a scream. Nelson rocks back and forth, broadlegged rock stance in effect, plucking at his bass and facing away from the crowd. They're obviously Propaghandi fans, and at time some of the songs sound like watered down versions of the Canadian veterans, but when they let other influences creep in they're creating something original and good.

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