Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pinky Beecroft & The White Russians @ The Zoo

Last Thursday night we found ourselves back at The Zoo for the second time in just over a week. I hadn't noticed all the signs up about not taking photos last time we were there, but they were much more obvious to me this time, especially as I had remembered to bring mine along with me this time. So once again, no photos to go along with this review.

Opening tonight was Athron, who played solo acoustic guitar. Having said solo though, I was somewhat confused for a while because I was sure I could hear backing vocals. The confusion was soon allayed when I realised that he was using a loop pedal on his vocals to get the backing vocal effect. It's the first time I can remember seeing a loop pedal used on vocals as opposed to using it on the guitar to build up a song. As with most musicians that rely heavily on a loop pedal for their set, I found it cool and interesting at first, but a bit tedious as the set went on, as it was used on most, if not all, songs. I think it's like most effects, in that they're best used in moderation. But I digress. Athron had a great set of vocal cords and a matching guitar talent that made this an enjoyable set. His album is worth checking out too if you're into any or all of Jack Johnson, John Butler, or Elliot Smith.

Up next was Goldenhorse; a New Zealand on their first tour of Australia. From what I've read, they're pretty big over in NZ, and from the set they played, I could see why. Vocalist and front-woman, Kristen Morell led the band through a number of fun-pop songs that you can imagine gets the dance floor moving back home. Unfortunately for the band, due to the low attendance tonight and probably the unknown songs that were coming forth, only one or two people took them up on their offer to "boogie on the dance floor" by the end of the set. But they didn't seem to let that sway their enthusiasm towards the music.

I guess it could have been a combination of uni exam time, a school night, and probably an under-advertised gig that led to the relatively small turn out for Pinky Beecroft's latest project, The White Russians, compared to what he would have been used to when he was in Machine Gun Felatio. Again though, that didn't stop Pinky from getting right into the gig, even telling the crowd how much better they were than the Melbourne crowd of the previous night. Pinky was entertaining throughout the night, in a similar way to how David McCormack woos a crowd. You can't help but want to listen to what he has to say, both when singing and talking between songs. His introduction to (a much heavier and faster) Unsent Letter, as being "a cover of a band he used to be into", was a classic example of this, as was his explanation of another song about a guy who, after being stood up on a date, had a car accident with someone else that he ended up falling for.

The line-up wasn't exactly what I was expecting after visiting their web site, namely due to the absence of Cameron Bruce (who I've since learned is only a part-time member). But it was great to see Nick Steward up on stage again behind his Les Paul and Telecaster guitars. It's probably been over eight years since I saw him play with George, but it didn't take long for me to remember his fantastic guitar playing from back then. Rounding out the line-up was Christian McBride on drums and backing vocals, Ben T on bass, and Pinky on his new keyboard (with its difficult to find piano setting!).

To me, the music was reminiscent of Machine Gun Felatio, but with its own life. There were only a few songs that I recognised, which were either MGF songs or covers of other bands, but I found everything else very listenable. Towards the end of set, they pulled out Blondie's Call Me, and they finished off the encore for the night with MGF's I Dance Electric. I picked up their EP on my way out, and am looking forward to hearing their full length album, which is due out in a couple of months.


Anonymous said...

Dammit, I meant to go to this and I forgot it was on! Sounds good, and they even did a Blondie song... I would have loved it. Oh well. I agree, uni exam time is not the best time for a band to be touring.

Heapsawill said...

Hey Kristian,

i work for a small publicity company based out of Bardon who is working with Pinky for the release of his upcoming album. Would you be interested in receiving a copy for possible write up on your blog?
If you're keen drop me a line at