Holy Fuck at The Hi-Fi
The 2008 incarnation of the Meredith Music Festival holds up as one of the most magical in recent memory. Though the then-fresh MGMT fizzled in the downpour, there were more than a few acts on the bill that absolutely killed it. Two of those acts being explosive Canucks Holy Fuck and the then-recently-formed guitar supergroup Beaches. Tonight's lineup brought the ostensibly disparate outfits together once more, forming a bloody ripper of a bill. Further compounding the Meredithian sentimentalism was The Hi Fi bar serving Melbourne Bitter cans as the soup du jour.
Also along for the ride were ECSR guitar-maestro Mikey Young's burgeoning synth-based side-project Total Control. On a handful of studio seven-inches the group have released, it could be deduced that their sound is exclusively a stripped-back, gritty take on early kraut-electro. However, in the live setting, the group are fleshed out to a straighter, classic-punk formation. It was damn loud and damn tight. The synth finally got a workout as they tore into possibly the best track of 2010, Paranoid Video. Disaster struck around halfway through as the drum machine chose to shit itself, leaving the band at a loss as what to do. Rather than replicate the rudimentary beat on the kit, they opted to pack it in and go straight into the next synth-devoid track.
It was a brilliant display of unpretentious punk jams, marred only by that uncooperative drum machine and their kinda rubbish closing synth-pop number. It sounded like something that crawled out of Brandon Flowers' jocks. Regardless of that skidmark, Total Control are definitely ones to watch in 2011.
Goddamn I wish Beaches would hurry up and put out LP number two. Melbourne's premier guitar band have released little in the way of recorded material since 2008's self-titled debut, but have been the go-to support act for many visiting internationals. Obviously honing their craft and consolidating their sound, their current set features a bevy of new material that exemplifies their light-on-vocals, overload-on-guitar approach. It's sad to see the awesome first-album cut Free Way become jettisoned from the setlist, but the wealth of new tracks more than makes up for it. (As an aside, bassist Gill Tucker would earn a nomination as Australian Of The Century based on attire alone: bluey, ripped jeans and a pair of Blunnies, all accessorised with a maroon tinnie. We salute you.)
A whole heap of weird shit was bought on stage in preparation for renowned noise-niks Holy Fuck. Their run of tracks was kicked off with the sounds of what appeared to be either an antique projector or a fettuccine maker, which was given stern wobbling to produce some pretty far-out warbling. Perhaps the band's greatest feat is the ability to hold it together while continually plugging and unplugging all manners of not-exactly-musical instruments into the large array of pedals. Pretty sure a kid's toy was plugged in at one stage to recite the alphabet.
Going by the addled memories of their 2008 Meredith set, the band have fleshed out their aural texture a hell of a lot since then. Tracks from latest album Latin are decent enough on record or when accompanied by lolcat-replete film clips, but the live setting is where they truly shine. Red Lights had the whole room bouncing along, teetering on the edge of a full-blown fuckfest of a dance jam.
Closing in resounding fashion with the irresistible The Pulse, Holy Fuck left the room with a ceiling stained with blown minds and likewise, many jeans with blown loads. Awesome.
Loved: One unholy alliance of a top-notch trifecta.
Hated: That one dude who yelled "Holy Fuck!" in between each song. Sure it was warranted, but shit got old real quick.
Drank: My wallet dry.