Where: The Shadow Electric Bandroom, Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne
When: 8th August 2014
This review originally appeared on Tonedeaf.com.au
The number of music venues dotted throughout Melbourne’s central hub, and its surrounding suburbs is one of the countless reasons why the city is viewed as the current musical heart of the country. The city’s expansive music scene is constantly in search of the latest locations, whose owners’ are open-minded enough to supplement its varied and vibrant live landscape.
No doubt cheers a plenty greeted the announcement that one of the northern suburb’s favourite artistic hotbeds, The Shadow Electric was allowing its band room to become the newest face on the city’s ‘permanent’ live ladder.
Strolling through the impressive grounds on a chilly Friday night, the band room is based in what is known as the Convent’s former Industrial School building. There is a rather wintery aura within the space, and with its narrow design, wooden floor and low stage set up, it’s quite reminiscent of an old town hall meeting space.
Lucianblomkamp arrived with a set up consisting of a violin, acoustic guitar and laptop or two, as he kicked things off with the violin, and some bass heavy sounds. The music had a deep atmospheric vibe throughout, and contained chilled out beats and loops. He was accompanied by female vocalist Rosebud Leach on two tracks, all the while hunched over his equipment twiddling away. His vocals for the most part were rather low in the mix, and the sound suffered from some serious amp feedback issues on more than one occasion.
Silent Jay followed next and performed an altogether tighter sounding set. He’s an up and coming DJ, remixer and producer, who also sings live with Hiatus Kaiyote. There was more dynamism on show during his performance, though unlike Lucianblomkamp, he didn’t dip into playing any live instruments to accompany his sample heavy beats. He also didn’t suffer the same sound problems that befell the aforementioned opening act; however when it did come to displaying his vocals, the beats overpowered his range every time.
Headliners Rat & Co took to the stage where they faced a packed out band room, proving there is fantastic support for the Shadow Electric team’s latest venture. The band, who delivers an engrossing mix of ambient electronica and fragile drones, mixed with driving drums, guitar and bass, is the brainchild of Chet Faker’s bass player, Josh Delaney. Tonight Delaney is joined on stage by Nick Park and Kaia McCarty-Smith, while it later transpired that fourth member John Wallar, was M.I.A due to being in the States.
Their tracks “The Letter” and “Seawind”, set the tone perfectly, as their built up layers betrothed the audience from the off. It was hard not to close your eyes and float off into another world, all the while being sound-tracked by down tempo beats sitting effortlessly alongside elements of post rock. Having only released their second record Binary in May, you’d be forgiven for thinking the set would rely heavily on it, however the audience was treated to two brand new tracks “Spring Part 1” and “Spring Part 2”.
Their set was accompanied by some mesmerising visuals, something which added an extra dimension to their performance. The crowd was treated to an array of crisp sounding hypnotic beats, none more so than during the finale of “Vocal Insanity”, “Nebula” and “The Farm”, where their buoyancy levels rose with each passing beat.
With that the opening night of the Shadow Electric team’s latest endeavour came to a close, with a pretty high level of expectancy already set.
Set List: “The Letter”, “Seawind”, “Dark Jam”, “Samurai”, “Spring Pt 1”, “Spring Pt 2”, “Robes”, “Freetown”, “UVB 76”, “THX”, “Vocal Insanity”, “Nebula” and “The Farm”