Snakadaktal @ Northcote Social Club
The dichotomy of Snakadaktal is one that few bands should ever be so lucky to have to own: Their confidence and patience when playing live is offset by several odd little reminders that they are in fact teenagers (which in itself usually means eagerness and awkwardness). Their packed show at the Northcote Social Club followed a trail of capacity gigs from the very beginning of the year, with many dates for the rest of their March/April tour around the country already sold-out. These guys truly deserve it.
With bright Rorschach visuals playing behind them, and a hand-made blue and white banner off to the side of the room (which was oddly reminiscent of house swimming sports, particularly the way the letters were skewed the way you might to do make a school project look more exciting), Snakadaktal impressed right away with an innovative stage set-up. Drummer Barna is elevated to the north-west, so that everyone can see him and take cues, not unlike the way you’d set up for a rehearsal. Joseph, Jarrah and Sean (guitarist, bassist and singer/guitarist respectively) are lined up lazily to the right of the kit, and singer/synths darling Phoebe graces stage-right.
The most wonderful thing about Snakadaktal is their afore-mentioned patience. They are not afraid to take their time on a beautiful, thumping build-up where fools (or the inexperienced) would rush in. Solid house drums get the crowd going and the boys’ psychedelic, bleating guitars wash over the top. The approach could be naff but Barna rarely closes his hats, which makes for a laid-back sound. During Carnival he utilises tight drum machine claps. The song sounds rather like a girl’s journey growing from the playroom to her adolescent diary, with the keys glowing like bells. Phoebe’s playing is in fact the cornerstone of this act: It could sound pedestrian without her varied sounds.
During Chimera the crowd stamps so hard there’s almost a shower of glitter from their faces, which they’ve painted to match the band. It doesn’t look pretentious, by the by, but just like they’ve come from playing in the park. One is also a spectacular favourite, with a great harpsichord sound from Phoebe and the guitarists all playing on off-beats. Impossible not to dance to.
Snakadaktal have all the hallmarks of a band about to burst out into the wider mainstream consciousness but none of the uppity accessories. They excitedly came straight out to speak to the crowd after the set, meaning that after their last song they walked off side-stage (for show), then walked back on as everyone was milling about, grabbed their stray picks and jumped off the front foldbacks to a small table under their banner, and started signing. With the confidence to let their sound build and leave space for gorgeous harmonics, Snakadaktal’s star is on the up and up.
BY ZOË RADAS
LOVED: Phoebe’s lame leather-strap watch.
HATED: Overly inked pass-out stamp which bled all down my arm.
DRANK: Carlton Draught.