[MUSIC: Live Review] Pluto Jonze, Tokyo Denmark Sweden, Tim Fitz
Pluto Jonze, Tokyo Denmark Sweden, Tim Fitz
GoodGod Small Club
Saturday July 21
We may be in the clutches of a merciless winter, but Sydney kids don’t seem deterred from getting sound-bites away from rain-slicked pavements. One particular audio-hearth is local indie institution GoodGod Small Club, which boasted a bevy of electro-acoustic artists last Saturday night, the first to hit the stage being Tim Fitz. Having seen the local multi-instrumentalist play a few times last year, it was interesting to watch his new-found foray into bluesy grooves coupled with bustle-and-banjo folk. He still retains his Medusa-like wield on the synth, sample pads and guitar pedals, but forewent the live drumkit this time around. His signature drop-down middle eights are stark and soulful, providing a platform for his guttural vocal quirks and displaying his oft-enshrouded vocal range.
One of the best features of Tokyo Denmark Sweden’s set was the vocal acrobatics of lead singer Amy Pes, who marshalled the floor-filler synth/pop outfit. The two other band-members pottered around in the rhythmic and soundscape engine room, while Amy stated her presence with a command that calls to mind something between Goldfrapp and PJ Harvey if you could imagine them talking Britannia and Brian Ferry over a cheeky cider. Maybe it was the way each band-member was facing out from each other, but the trio lacked any obvious chemistry – still, their choice samples of chime-synths and deft segues made for a highly polished set.
With the talk of Britannia still smouldering, Pluto Jonze announced himself with bombastic, infectious Brit-pop – and suddenly I felt like I’d been hurled back into the early ‘90s, watching Blur at the dizzying apex of their Parklife fame. This Sydney-based artist has the panache of Beck and the curled upper lip of Mika, with a sense of harmonics that sticks more closely to you than the Sol-smeared floor of GoodGod. His music is as hook-laden as it comes, with raise-your-baton lyrics (‘Let your love goooo…’) and anthemic tag lines. Notably, Jonze’s drummer had charging chops, and even though he performed with session players their set was cohesive, immediate, and ultimately won favour with the capricious sound system. I may not have previously known a single lyric to any of his songs, but by the end of his set I found myself toe-shuffling back out onto a near-glacial George Street.