Rat vs Possum Plus Guests Live at The Workers Club
Friday nights in December are supposed to be busy, however Melbourne’s post-modern take on summer, that involves gale-force winds and a tempest’s worth of rain, appeared to have turned the south-side of Brunswick street into a deserted badlands.
With this aesthetic in mind, the dim lighting and musty smell of the band room at The Worker’s Club had the feel of a bunker. As the first act Footy finished up his delightful realisation of DIY, the members of both Towels and Rat Vs Possum moved around the room chatting to practically everyone. There was a particular interest in the guys from Rat Vs Possum with their impending Meredith appearance (that has since passed) and the fact that this was their first appearance in many months. To add to the mystique surrounding this show, RvsP fellow Matt Kuleasza informed me that they were no longer playing with samplers – a sonic effect that had previously been a keystone to their live performances.
Towels’ stage lighting was enigmatic without being pretentious – actually, maybe it was a bit wanky, but the fact their music is so textured and conceptually ungraspable, it was kind of fitting. It involved fairy lights hanging down about a foot in front of stage and spotlights focused on the floor just at the foot of the guitarist flanked by two keyboard players. The first song to be emitted by the three piece began with a compressed “errrr, errrrr” emitted from a synthesiser which was then crudely mimicked by Towels’ vocalist and guitarist Zayd Thring – his awkward falsetto combing with the music to create something akin to the soundtrack from Twin Peaks. Towels’ set was a bit like watching brain surgery through a micro-camera in that what is happening is amazing, but it feels a little bit like being sucked down a dirty river with goggles on.
The grit was continued but in a far less conceptual way when Rat Vs Possum took the stage. With the omission of the Dan Deacon-esque vocal loops Rat Vs Possum now have, for the first time, a naïve garage rock feel where any pretension that may have been previously attached by haters of the band is dissipated. Standouts from their debut release Binit Jua, Jungle and Pills still retain their otherworldly aspects despite their technological dressing down. Rat Vs Possum’s set on this blustery and most unbecoming Melbourne night was enchantingly visceral – another dimension to one of this town’s best young bands.