Sunday, April 13, 2008

Del Toro, An Horse, and Do The Robot @ The Brisbane Powerhouse

On this rather warm April day, we made our way down to the Brisbane Powerhouse for the Sunday afternoon Live Spark session.

The Powerhouse is literally one of Brisbane's old power stations. It was given a new life about 10 years ago and reborn into one of the city's great live performance venues. They've left a lot of the interior and exterior in-tact, which gives it a great industrial feel. It's situated on the river right next to New Farm park, and is one convenient CityCat stop away from us.

The three Brisbane bands in today's session were all from the Valve record label, and were each launching their latest releases.

Up first this afternoon was Do The Robot. This two-piece made up of a guitarist and keyboardist (who also played the glockenspiel & guitar for a couple of songs) had a pretty good sound to them. Whilst I liked the minimalist repetitive style of the songs, I felt they were a little nervous, and as a result, not very tight together. I still decided to pick up their album, Amp On Fire, and I'll be interested to see how much of a difference their recorded sound has.

When I saw Kate Cooper from An Horse on stage to set up, I recognised her from Iron On and was a bit worried about what was to follow. I've had a couple of not so great experiences seeing Iron On play which, although was probably related to technical difficulties at the time, have left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I'm happy to report that An Horse's set today fit in well with the other two bands, and ended up being a pretty good listen. They had the most stage presence out of the three bands by far, which added to the overall enjoyment of their set. Having said that, they still weren't my cup of tea, and they were the only band whose CD I didn't pick up today.

The third and final act today was Del Toro. I saw them once before (back in 2005 apparently) supporting City City City at The Alley Bar. I remember really liking them at the time and was disappointed to find out after their set that they were still working on getting a recording out. Since then, they fell off the radar for me, so much so that I only vaguely recognised the name when I saw their gig advertised.

In contrast to the other two bands, Del Toro were quietly confident on stage. But that's where the quietness ended! Their instrumental set consisted of a number of screaming high guitar tones, interspersed with sharp bass and solid drummig. I recently heard their style described as "desert rock", which is a much more accurate description than I could come up with (along the lines of alt country/blues/rock).

Their set was short but sweet and I picked up their latest album, Hydra, on my way out, so there may be more about them coming soon from this space.

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