Enter the Forum early last Saturday night and you would have heard Dustin Tebbutt channelling the vocal tones of Justin Vernon, gentle indie stylings accompanied by a stellar band for the evening bringing everything to life. There’s a really lovely melodic contrast between the sweeping ethereal vocals on ‘Bones’ and the accompaniment with its rolling guitars, and Where I Find You creates a curiosity leaning to more of an indie rock sound along with the more uptempo The Breach where the crowd was easily persuaded to clap along for a little while. Also an absolute pleasure listening to recent events being recollected so eloquently including the excitement of the EP release last week.
Dustin warned us before the end of his set that we’d be witnessing a machine on drums when Battleships came on (and right he was) but once on stage the odd couple had seemingly expanded to the odd quartet, and no one could have pulled together a more diverse group of individuals. Only the universal language of music could make this little group work and blend together, and it did wasting no time in getting some pretty impressive indie rock through the speakers. Coming Back to You is a stand out, with its undeniably brit pop feel before the melodic rolling riffs of Collision (Head On) and the impressively catchy Inside. I’m hooked, and you know it’s good when during the spruiking of upcoming shows your gig buddy turns to you and says, “We’re going to see them…right?” – can’t argue with that! (Loving the new single as well Take Your Rest as well).
Having staked out a clear view of the stage meant actually seeing Boy & Bear as compared to hearing them and hoping that the ant sized figures miles away on the stage at Big Day Out a few years ago were actually the band. Opening with Three Headed Woman was somewhat of a sombre start, but after seeing a few gleaming smiles from the stage during Rabbit Song, all seemed well before the first big singalong of the night in Lordy May.
We learnt about Dave Hosking’s musical repertoire expanding to a mini synth, featured in Old Town Blues before Milk & Sticks from the band’s first album standing out in the set ensuring both albums were given coverage.
With two violinists on stage there was a fleeting moment where I’d thought the saxophone solo would be foregone in Harlequin Dream, until a strange figure loomed onto the stage for what was possibly the shortest (but extremely critical) gig appearance. Big Man was the surprise of the night, amazingly impressive live and was followed with the continual intertwining of old and new material. It wasn’t long before the alter ego of Neil Moon was introduced to everyone before Bridges for the comical part of the night’s entertainment.
Arrow Flight, the favourite on the new album was mind blowingly good on the night, with the unmistakably brilliant tones of that Rickenbacker featuring so prominently. Expectations were explicitly managed with everyone informed of the no encore policy but there was nothing to be disappointed with when the band ended the night in party mode with Golden Jubilee and ‘the’ song – Feeding Line.