Gig review: Papa vs Pretty, Spectrum, 27/08/2010

Papa Vs Pretty

Papa vs Pretty - Image taken from

Last minute lineup additions Golden Hearted started off the evening with a sound eagerly reminiscent of mid-90s Australian indie rock, in its best possible form. A tight band, their songs were instantly memorable and catchy, and set expectations high for following supports.

Loon Lake proved to be less captivating, with a shambolic band dynamic matched with a vocalist who tiptoed the line between amusing and irritating with his femininely falsetto screechings. It was hard to shake the Ween associations as his pitchy assertions met the stock standard rock music in a musical purgatory. Then again, if this reviewer knew what awaited afterwards, maybe more enthusiasm could have been mustered.

Prancing, pretentious and overly nauseating are just some of the words that spring to mind watching Sierra Fin. The frontman’s Matt Bellamy cum Thom Yorke complex was evident, including the musical copycat syndrome plaguing the set. Each song was instantaneously recognisable as a carbon copy of an established band, whether in folky Johnny Cash blues, Nick Cave style storytelling behind a piano or ukulele murder in a lesser style of The Decemberists.

With the bar now suitably low set, the prodigiously talented Papa Vs Pretty were by contrast humble, some might even say, meek, though the noise they produced was anything but, as they launched into the type of guitar shredding not out of place at a Slash gig. Showcasing a heavy sound with screeching vocals courtesy of vocalist Thomas Rawle, each band member was equally entertaining and enthralling to watch on stage. Rawle seemed to swallow the mic whole with each scream, thrashing with guitar in hand; bassist Gus Gardiner looked as if in another world but harmonised beautifully with the rest of the band and drummer Tom Myers was a mess of headbanging hair and drumsticks in a bounding energy that became infectious. The crowd was genuinely thrilled by the noisy, almost grunge show put on, with new songs Wrecking Ball and Heavy Harm standing out, with Rawle’s voice carrying wisdom beyond his years. Taken aback by the warm response, the band returned to stage post-set with a cover, Prince’s Purple Rain, and truly demonstrated the monstrous talent that belies this band of barely legal age members.

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