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Sunday, August 15, 2010

What time is it? Time to wander

Thursday 5th August 2010
Oxford Art Factory
Who: Step-Panther, Jinja Safari, Gypsy & the Cat
Plus: The Honey Pies

One would speculate that the week following Splendour would be a massive comedown, with the music scene and goers in a somewhat sleepy hiatus after all the camping, drinking, dancing and sideshows from and after the epic weekend. But no, music lovers who had splendour bendered and those who hadn’t, packed out the oxford art factory last Thursday for an evening of up & coming indie goodness.

Arriving a little past nine to that underground music haven, we’d managed to miss out on Step-Panther’s surfy guitar-pop set. With a half hour gap til Jinja Safari we stumbled next door into the Gallery Bar and struck gold. The Honey Pies, a kooky guitar pop band of shaggy, haired flanno-wearing blokes in alternative glasses treated us to their strumming. Echoing the likes of the Artic Monkeys with their dancey hooks in ‘Sex wax’, and then delighting our ears with melifluous numbers such as sixties Beatle-esque song, ‘Fool in love’, the band were a sweet surprise. Sipping on ‘purple rain’, one of Oxford Art Factory’s staple cocktails (chambord, blue curaco, apple juice and lemonade), it was hard not to be swept up in the glorious toe tapping melodies. 

As the Honey Pies were wrapping up, Jinja Safari were heating up the main stage. We strolled in to find the stage transformed into a jumpin’ jungle. With vine leaf wrapped microphone stands, bongo drums, a jangly sitar and cooing vocals, the Sydney boys delivered with their charming performance of ‘peter pan’. One of the singers bore a striking resemblance to Lance, the ‘pretty long-haired one’, of Mighty Boosh fame, whilst the drummer echoed a monkey-like character with his cute hoo hooing into the microphone. After the radio favourite was done, the boys impressed with more jumping and jingling. Cute track ‘hiccups’, actually had a nervousness in the floaty, yet rapid synthesizer and percussion.

Following a short break the black curtains re-opened revealing Melbourne’s Gypsy & the Cat in all their wonder. The very cool cat band warmed the crowd with their dreamy indie electronic track ‘Time to Wander’. There was an air of eighties power ballad in ‘Breakaway’, reminiscent of Hall & Oates and Spandau Ballet, but with higher tenor vocals, whilst ‘Pipers song’ generated a sweet nostalgia for Fleetwood Mac in it’s guitar loops and beautiful harmonies. Much to the delight of the audience the boys closed with the soaring vocals and reverberating keyboard of cleverly named ‘Jona Vark’. The live performance and stage presence of both bands certainly trumps their recordings, which tend to sound a little washed out. Gypsy and the Cat have this indie electronic sound that’s just a little trippy like Pink Floyd, a little airy like Cut Copy, but they bring a stronger beat and I think a bigger heart and sense of hope. These recently unearthed bands deserve all the hype and radio play, as their live performances showcased their mesmerizing, infectious talent. The Australian music scene certainly has a lot of emerging talent to fall for.

PS. You can download a free digital copy of the Honey Pies delightful EP here  and you can check out the cute as a button looney tunes clip for 'Fool in Love' there.

Some Step Panther for your listening pleasure

Check out Jinja Safari if you haven't already

Hope you dig Gypsy and the Cat's groovy 'Piper's song' as much as me

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