Sunday, May 11, 2008

Down By The Schoolyard.

And we're back. I go see a lot of bands, for a variety of different reasons. When I'm feeling angry and self-righteous, I go see punk rock bands. When I'm feeling cerebral and esoteric, I go see noise bands. But when I'm feeling fun, I go see I Heart Hiroshima. Ahh, if only they lived in Melbourne. What's so great about Brisbane anyway?

It's also a shame that IHH always play with such fucking terrible bands. On Saturday night it was Rocket Science, who for some reason have such a legion of taste-challenged fans that the show was sold out. In order to see IHH I was reduced to doing something which I fucking hate doing: asking for a door spot. Don't get me wrong, I love to get in for free, but asking for it feels dirty and wrong. After my pride was sufficiently swallowed and door spot wrangled I skipped straight up the front. A quick exhortation from Susie to "make it 8/10" and they lauch into things.

It's immediately apparent that they have exceeded Susie's expectations. They are playing so well that even they notice, claiming that the version of one song was "the best they ever played". Now, in my forced absence I dwelt long on this blog and its purpose, and couldn't really think of anything. But I did notice that lately I've been avoiding actually describing bands. So here's my attempt at explaining why IHH were rocking it so goddamn hard last night.

A lot of their songs are mid-paced, allowing for optimum head-nodding. Lyrics are mystical, but with an undercurrent of melancholy that makes them seem, you know, meaningful. The guitar interplay builds pressure which is eventually released (indeed, the restraint shown by IHH is an underrated quality) in fully fledged rocking out. They have different amps and different guitar sounds - indeed, one guitar sounds so springy that I'm almost convinced he has broken rubber bands instead of springs, whereas the other guitar is sharp and more traditional. The two - and, on Saturday, sometimes three - voices creates a nice juxtaposition. Their natural focal point sits up high above the drums, cracking jokes, posing out and generally being hilarious and naturally good at life. There's very little pretension here - it's a stripped down sound, with space being as important as notes (like the poets say). That's what they're like. Poppy, angular and sharp. Yep.

So, after IHH finish I split, and eventually end up dancing to Etta James at Gimme Shelter. Which was nice.

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