Words Ian Hawkins
On a Friday night I stepped into one of Melbourne’s numerous small venues, and I immediately found myself swirling in the psychedelic freak out of ‘Whole Lotta Love’. Ok, maybe it wasn’t as good as actually watching Led Zeppelin, but nevertheless; Whole Lotta Love is a classic rock themed bar, executed well.
It can be a challenge to fit everything one needs for a good venue into a small room, but nothing feels too cramped or compromised here; just a nice small venue.
First up, local youngsters Elbrus (who replaced Peeling Sun) cruised into a bluesy opening, before cranking the fuzz and jamming out. Frontman Ollie Bradley-Smith turns his hand from organ to harmonica fluidly, and the band played some fresh sounding material. Make no mistake, these are early days, but keep an eye on these cats in the next couple of years; give them gigs and buy them beers!
Taking to the stage second was Adelaide’s Introvert with a post rock / prog metal vibe. This instrumental four piece brings the clean / polished tones of Explosions In The Sky to the crossroads with Tool. With two brand new members, the band delivered a tight set, however towards the end I wasn’t the only one feeling the tedium set in. The freedoms and challenges of not having a vocalist were perhaps a little out of balance. It was a well-rehearsed set, great musicianship and very genuine tunes.
Hailing from Sydney, The Dirty Earth are a four piece delivering straight up rock tunes. With a punchy opening and great guitar / bass sounds, The Dirty Earth tore through a set of power chord driven songs. If you’re after a Saturday night boogie at the nearby bar, the Dirty Earth have got you covered. Soldiering on through technical difficulties and time pressure, the band left the stage open for another one of Melbourne’s emerging local bands, Two Headed Dog.
Fresh off a split residency at the Cherry Bar, Two Headed Dog are those double denim, long-haired, ‘would you like Converse with your holes’ dudes who kick out the jams like they’ve got nothing better to do. With a meaty Hammond sound for the bass and some old school fuzzed out guitar, Two Headed Dog riff out real good. Fill in drummer, Sam Mellington, has apparently never had a rehearsal with the band, just gig after gig and yet there was not a stick out of place.
Meanwhile, the real drummer, Andrew Alkemade, was on the mic. He’s done as all drummers do, gone and hurt himself, likely doing something stupid. I really liked the four-piece incarnation of the band, Alkemade giving it some Stooges / Radio Birdman vibes. Closing on ‘Rolling Coaster’, Two Headed Dog departed the stage with smouldering organs and screaming amps left to roll on into the night.