IN WORDS: Boomgates + Super Wild Horses + Per Purpose @ Woodland 07.05.11
by Liza Harvey
Bad news Brisbane, Melbourne can now add ‘babes’ to its list of assets, right next to ‘babes that are musicians’, ‘winning at culture’ and ‘any creative person from Brisbane’. The only reason I can get away with saying this in a published review online is because I’m a girl. And also because I’m about to justify my reasoning.
It would be easy enough to talk about Super Wild Horses as follows:
Besides being of the female gender, I’m also a musician. I cannot tell you how much it shits me to read reviews or (god forbid) hear people say stuff like that. For some reason, most people don’t seem to know how to deal with girls in bands that don’t play bass guitar. I’m happy to bring you the great news that Super Wild Horses rubs their faces in their own excrement and sends ’em off, tails between their legs. Refreshingly, I’m now going to write a review about a girl band that doesn’t lag on the fact that they are indeed ladies of the babe kind.
I love Super Wild Horses, and this surprises me. When their debut album Fifteen came out mid last year I wasn’t so taken by their fashionable urban-surf thang, but it kept lingering somewhere in my iTunes folder. Made up of blab la bla … When they played the Hanger last September with Loomer (Bris), Southern Comfort (Syd) and Kitchen’s Floor (Bris), I managed to miss their whole set without even realising. Don’t ask me how I don’t share my magic tricks.
My internal douchebage disappears and are replaced by feelings of guilt, confusion and remorse as Super Wild Horses glide through their set. I realise my original thoughts about them were maybe something around jealousy and maybe I’d just had a fucking bad day when I first heard Fifteen. But with another album, the Boomgates/Super Wild Horses 7” split and another show, comes a new experience. Tonight, it feels like everyone around me is reading my mind – halfway through the set after a quick instrument swapsies between Amy Franz and Hayley McKee everyone starts dancing. At first it’s slow, unsure and a little awkward, but before long it’s a fuckload of fun.
One thing that really stands out is the lush, lush sound Super Wild Horses get out of just a guitar, drums and vocals. They put 12-piece folk bands to shame. It’s also a relief to hear the Woodland acoustics of the room sound something other than an underwater-themed Disney night (bravo sound guy!). When the bubbles start falling from the ceiling, I’m completely converted into a fan. I will be getting my ‘SWH Rulz’ tat any day now.
It isn’t just a Super Wild Horses night, though. Fellow Melbourners Boomgates provide the soundtrack to that teenage love affair I secretly wish I’d had. Brendan Huntly is my favourite performer. Period. His awkward, excited and anticipating movements create this fantastic illusion of spontaneity and intensity. Brendan paired up with Steph Hughes’ relaxed and in-control, no-fuck-around persona is a match made in the rule book of Melbourne Music 101.
The first time I saw Boomgates in Sydney last October at the RIP Society Success Summit show left a lasting impression in my brain. Walking through the Annandale Hotel as they balladised ‘Cameo’, the crowd intoxicated and transfixed on Boomgates, it felt like I was walking into some sort of weird dream, especially when Brendan started his frantic spiel, his trademark vocals that dominate Boomgates and bring it back to his work in Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Boomgates’ fizzy-make-feel-good music dominates Woodland tonight.
Per Purpose is the band that just keeps on giving. Every time I see them I get a little flurry in my belly and a warmth that leaves a lasting impression until the next time. Glen Schenau, Harry Byrne and Joe Alexander seem to double-fold their performance each time they play. Keep in mind I’ve seen these guys possibly 15 times in the last year or so, and I just can’t help myself and have a violence-infused dance every time. The Woodland crowd certainly feel the same, with a deep sense of satisfaction and gratification left lingering on the dance floor.
I’m starting to get the suspicion that Woodland is pumping nitrus oxide in through the bubble machine.