Monday, May 5, 2008

The Panics @ The Tivoli

On Saturday night, I found myself at The Tivoli again, this week to see The Panics. It feels like I've already been there heaps more than just the three times I've actually been this year, but I think it must be because I was only there last week.

On a side note, it'll be interesting to see what affect the new taxes on "alcopop" drinks have on the already exorbitant prices at the Tiv'. Anecdotally, I've heard the price of a carton of pre-mix rum & coke cans has jumped from $45+ to around the $80 mark. Given that they currently charge $10 per aforementioned can there, I wonder if they'll even continue trying to sell them!

Anyway, back to the show. The Wilson Pickers were part way through their set when we arrived. This four-piece alt-country band fell very much on the country side of that particular genre, but in a very good way. At times, they were reminiscent of The Travelling Wilburys with their tight instrumentation and strong vocal roles throughout the set. The setlist itself comprised mostly of originals but also included a Bob Dylan cover and the increasingly obligatory cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene.

The primary support act tonight was Melbourne 5-piece, Little Red. Their set was almost the very definition of pop music. Backed by the drummer, the four-part harmonies sung by the two guitarists, bassist, and vocalist oozed of mid 60's Beatles & Beach Boys. I would have no hesitations in recommending them to members of my parents' generation! Interestingly, all four vocalists took the lead for one song or another, which at times left the front man looking like a bit of a fifth wheel. For the most of it though, you could tell that this is just one big happy group (a bit too happy for my liking) doing what they like doing.

After a bit of a longer break, the band everyone was waiting for finally came on stage. From what I could tell, their set was made up of most of the songs from their last album, Cruel Guards, interspersed with songs from various stages of their back catalog. There were a lot of songs tonight that I hadn't heard before (or at least don't remember hearing), but enjoyed greatly none the less. The band sounded genuinely humble as they expressed their appreciation of the large and enthusiastic crowd throughout the set, which for me at least, really made me feel a part of this night. This was quite a feat given that it looked like the gig had sold out!

Towards the end of the main set, they brought a couple of local horn players out, which really added to the sound of Feeling Is Gone, and the crowd favourite, Don't Fight It. The band concluded their main set with Get Us Home, in which, from seemingly so few instruments, they produced a wall of sound that I haven't experienced at The Tivoli since I saw Mercury Rev there several years ago.

The band returned to the stage shortly after for their encore. The second of the two songs they played for it was an instrumental jam out, which, while at first seemed like a bit of an odd choice, was a great way to finish the night. Based on what I heard tonight, I'm really looking forward to delving into The Panics' back catalog!

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