The Groves @ Revolver
Having been around for awhile, it's good to see Melbourne-based four-piece blues outfit The Groves finally beginning to make inroads into Australia’s thriving music scene. With a history that begins back in their high school days, the group’s self-titled debut EP launched at Revolver this weekend was an all-out aural assault from a group that shows much promise.
Master Gunfighters, a collective of Melbourne musicians from acts such as The Thod, The Polites and Mass Cult formed in 2011 provided a welcome prelude to the headline act for the evening, mixing blues and country-inspired sounds with a distinctively Melbournian soul. Familiar feelings and locales from Swanston Street to Collingwood, accompanied by adept guitarists and an eclectic range of percussive and instrumental tricks were the subject of their up-tempo and inspiring set,
As bassist Leigh Macdonald conceded during the evening, the group's debut EP has been a long time coming – but now that it's here, it's clear that the Groves are very much maturing into a successful, surprising act to contend with in Melbourne. Bringing a set largely comprised of material from the EP launched on the evening, months spent rehearsing and recording, mixing and mastering the self-titled EP in vocalist Antoni Riccardi’s home studio with the assistance of Stevie Mayo have come to fruition with a remarkably self-assured sound. Taking to the stage to a reasonably packed-out front room at Revolver, the group spent the following hour tearing through a well-paced and groove-laden performance.
What Else Can You Do, the song the band cites as being a turning point in their musical progression, written in a mere ten minutes, sounded revelatory in the confined and sweaty front room – a lowslung baseline and smooth, folk-rock oriented melodies sounded warm and lush, and the rest of their material matches their newfound niche well – from the fast-paced, electric rock of Deep Water replete with driving percussion and howling guitars to the more expansive, blues-inspired Davey Jones, The Groves’ energetic performance was a winning one, combining a refined and matured aesthetic with a youthful exuberance. An appropriately sleazy, slow-jam paced cover of Fever was the surprise of the evening, with vocalist Riccardi’s impressive vocal range given chance to shine backed by seriously funked-out rhythms and guitar, before wrapping things up with a rapid-fire take on three more tracks and a graceful exit from the stage. A decisive performance from a group set to become a well-known act in Melbourne very soon.
BY MIKI McLAY
LOVED: The crowded dancefloor.
HATED: Spilled beers.
DRANK: So much water.