Gig Review: Dead Meadow + Pink Mountaintops + The Laurels + Los Sundowners @ Hi-Fi Bar, Sydney
I half expected this gig to actually be a covert police sting operation to arrest illegal marijuana users. Cramming Los Sundowners, The Laurels, Pink Mountaintops and Dead Meadow into the same pipe bowl of a show is the perfect recipe for attracting red-eyed dudes with thick woollen beanies, wearing fresh Kyuss T-shirts they bought from Utopia. I imagined Sandra Sully on the next night's Ten News bulletin — "Police have claimed Task Force Fungus has been a complete success, with 125 arrests..."
In reality though, the crowd was much more diverse than I expected at the Hi-Fi Bar, as stoners and metal dudes mingled with trendy cunts, hippy chicks, balding record collectors, and one contributing blog writer extremely content with the venue's prompt bar service, excellent toilet facilities and comfortable air conditioning temperature. There were even a couple of lost rugby league fans that had wandered in instead of going to the Tigers Vs Brisbane game at the SFS next door. They didn't seem to notice/care, screaming "KARN BENJI!" in between songs.
Apologies to Los Sundowners as I missed their set due to the inconveniently early start time required for this gig thanks to Jesus' death day. I honestly tried to be there by 6.30pm but I was fighting a fucking hard dragon on Skyrim and the people of Whiterun were in a pinch. And seriously, do liquor laws really need to be changed in NSW specifically for one day because a middle-eastern Jewish dude got strung up and killed by a bunch of Romans about 2,000 years ago (allegedly)? Mel Gibson doesn't live here anymore and I don't think anyone else gives a shit.
The Laurels are my favourite live Sydney band at the moment and their set on this night did nothing to dissuade me of that opinion. Their wall of sound battered the audience like a psych rock tsunami, as they blasted through tracks from their excellent Mesozoic EP of last year, as well as demoing some really great sounding new tracks from their forthcoming debut album (set for release in August on Rice Is Nice their manager Alicia told me - props for the ticket hook up too Kish!). Can't fucking wait for that.
Next on were Stephen McBean and his Black Mountain side project Pink Mountaintops. I honestly haven't listened to too much of their stuff, preferring the face-melting heaviness of BM, but I was totally blown away by the tender, alien-folk songs Dr McBeany and cohorts cranked out. Got to admit though, his keyboardist stole a lot of the stage focus because he: a) looked like a larger version of the guitarist from Peabody (a little hair straightener happy, if you get my drift), and b) played his keyboard like he was trying to fuck the arm on a couch. The American Apparel girl on tambourine (a member of Los Sundowners I'm told) was, however, a nice compliment to Mr McBean's hobo chic look.
DC rockers Dead Meadow put on a blistering performance to close out the set, shredding through the thrilled crowd with some tremendous heavy jamming. Although the three-piece appeared diminutive on the large Hi-Fi stage, the sonic onslaught they unleashed on the audience more than made up for their lack of physical stage presence. They also gave a big fuck you to J.C. fans by playing a little longer than planned and giving the NSW Liquor Board the finger and me a slight boner.
I left the night with a belly full of beer, a comfortably strained bladder and a satisfying ringing in my ears, all to be in bed before midnight. Go Tigers!