The always awkward period of time between Christmas and New Years (if you’re not attending one of the multitude of festivals that is) was made much more bearable with a showcase of Australian talent at The Workers Club on Friday night.
Ali Barter opened the night as a solo act, accompanied only by her electric guitar. The Melbournian’s soothing, ethereal vocals brought a hushed silence to the slowly growing room, as Barter proved herself a talented storyteller as well as musician.
Tracks such as ‘Marigold’ let Barter’s stunning voice shine against minimal backing, and she definitely appreciated the respectful crowd, especially after having to tell a rowdier bunch at her last show to “shut the fuck up.”
Next up were rising Melbourne act Dirt Farmer, who were joined by an added guitarist from fellow locals The Messengers.
The five-piece deliver bright and upbeat indie pop, with the brilliant addition of harmonica on many tracks. Triple J Unearthed favourites ‘Johnny Marble’ and ‘Kick It’ were stand-outs in the highly energetic and thoroughly enjoyable set, and by its conclusion the now bustling crowd were ready for the main act.
As soon as Brisbane’s The Trouble With Templeton, the brainchild of singer and guitarist Thomas Calder, take to the stage, it’s clear that Dirt Farmer’s bassist was correct in labeling them “insanely captivating” and that you “can’t take your eyes off them.”
Creating a cinematic blend of folk and indie rock, the five-piece produce a textured, layered sound, playing many new songs from the group’s upcoming sophomore album (to be recorded in January) as well as some old favourites.
The set ebbs and flows perfectly, featuring moments with loud walls of sound, as well as quieter ones that showcase Calder’s unique voice.
The harmonies between Calder and female vocalist and keyboardist Betty Yeowart were outstanding across the night, with each of the duo’s voices wonderfully complemented by the other.
The mesmerizing music was interspersed with charming and witty banter that added an extra dynamic to the night, including Calder’s constant battles with his guitar (“this fucking guitar is going to be the death of me” and wishing for his “friendly acoustic guitar”), the frontman labeling their music “melodic shit” (which couldn’t be further from the truth); and bassist Sam Pankhurst’s time-filling joke revolving around playing at a ‘Workers’ Club while also being on Centrelink.
‘Bleeders’ was brooding and atmospheric, slowly building to an explosive finish filled with dueling guitars, while ‘Six Months In A Cast’ – the single the show was launching – proved to be a fantastic live song.
The irresistible track brought the previously seated portion of the audience to their feet, and was adapted masterfully for the live setting.
The show was the band’s second last of the year, with only an appearance at Falls Festival to come, and Calder summed up the band’s huge 2012 by saying “we’ve played some ridiculous shows, and some great shows, and we don’t know where this one falls yet.”
As the hour-long set draws to a close, it’s entirely obvious that the show falls into the ‘great’ category, and promises of a return to Melbourne can’t be made true soon enough.