After only having a tenuous grasp on the output of Melbourne-based Teeth & Tongue going into The Forum, it was a more than welcome surprise to find that the act are nothing less than a revelation live. Performing with a sense of composure, as well a seamless mastery of the synth-drum backing track, Teeth And Tongue's commanding set was made all the more impressive by the fact band mastermind Jessica Cornelius pulled it off in style with a floral unitard. The subdued menace of the gritty guitar-work of Marc Reguiro-Mckelvie (of Popolice) provided a powerful underlay to Jessica's soaring vocals, proving that they are worthy of a PA the size of The Forum's.
Just before Puta Madre Brothers arrived on stage, one of the evenings more curious aspects became apparent. "God, can someone tell this cunt to shut up?" was overheard at the bar as an interstitial MC came to 'warm up' the crowd. The guy wasn't exactly terrible, but the whole concept just seemed a little out of place at a fully-fledged rock gig.
Despite decking the stage out with a fiesta's worth of balloons, Puta Madre Brothers felt like a bit of a letdown - especially considering the set that preceded them.
The maligned MC once again took the stage, slowly approaching a crowd reaction that would even make Neil Hamburger a little envious. I kind of felt sorry for him in the end.
At the start of the night I spotted a timesheet with a five minute slot blacked out, CIA style. All was revealed when The DC3 (an act born from the ashes of TISM and Root) arrived on stage to play the ode to the man of the hour, Henry Fucking Wagons, as make a cheeky plug for whatever shows they had in the pipeline.
When Henry and co. finally did hit the stage, they belted straight into an impressive run of hits. Kicking off with Downlow, the run of songs is a testament to the band's solid body of work. Funnily enough, mainstream radio's aversion to the band does a good job of eliminating the band's risk of overexposure.
Grabbing the wireless mic and throwing himself into the crowd, Henry conducted a rousing crowd-wide singalong of The Wayfaring Strangers'Willie Nelson. Coming out for a stripped back encore of Keep Your Eyes Off My Sister before exploding into the grand send-off of Goodtown.
While his character and perceived place in the Aussie rock canon falls short of his ego, Henry's band have built an undeniably powerful body of songs, and hey, that's all that matters in the end.
Loved: A decent serving of top-notch music.
Hated: The contrived sense of spectacle fell a bit flat.
Drank: Not nearly as much as the fellow who kept propositioning me for a high five all night.