Oliver Duncan, one half of Gung Ho, gave us his top five gigs of 2012.
1. Whitest Boy Alive: The Tivoli
I will always hold the events that took place on this night close to my heart for the rest of my life. I have an immense amount of love for this band. One time on tour, we had to do a Brisbane to Sydney drive and we forgot to bring the iPod cable and all we had was Dreams by Whitest Boy Alive on CD. Needless to say it was one of the best drives we’ve ever done.
We were lucky enough to open for this show, easily one of the biggest show’s we’ve played. In sound check I remember drummer Sebastian Maschat exclaimed, “is zat my hand clap machine?”. The main support band explained to him that it was theirs. “Oh okay, I thought it was mine.” He then burst out in a fit of insane German laughter. This sounds really bland on paper but trust me, it was brilliant.
Whitest Boy Alive played one of the best sets I’ve ever seen that night. It featured a healthy dose of tracks from Dreams and Rules as well as an encore performance of ‘Ignition’ by R. Kelly which also featured a guest appearance by one of my mates who got up on stage and hugged frontman Erlend Øye. The band abruptly stopped playing and everyone booed him, it was awesome. When the crowd weren’t booing my friends they were dancing with an intense amount of joy and enthusiasm. Even the squarest, whitest dudes were shaking their booties like no tomorrow.
Also on a side note, Erlend tried to pick up my girl friend at the after party. Upon realising she was with me, he was totally smooth about it. I got to talk to him for quite a bit after that, thanks for the in Jas!
2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Alhambra Lounge
Technically this was very late 2011 but this gig was really special and I want to write about it.
It was the band’s very first Australian show. There were less than 50 people there, but every single person was completely hypnotised by the three-piece. The crowd gave a huge amount of love after every song with screams and applause followed by a respectful silence as everyone anticipated the next track. The crowd’s response even took the band by surprise; they modestly told the audience they didn’t think this many people would have been interested in them. There was a lot of love in the room.
The band gave plenty back in return. Ruben Nielson’s guitar playing was next level. He played with all four fingers and thumb and you could tell he was working every single one of his digits to new extremes. Like how an octopus has a different mind for each of its tentacles, Ruben’s fingers managed solos that when heard you would swear were coming from multiple guitarists. An audience member even screamed out “My brain!” after a rather intense solo.
Bass player Jake Portrait’s playing was also on a completely different plain. The ingenuity came in his pedal work. Being a bass player myself only rocking a tone and distortion pedal I found his tone manipulation very intriguing. He was playing with the sub frequencies, bringing them in and out, making the perfect platform for Nielson to play over the top.
After the gig every hole in my face was leaking brains. It was awesome and I can’t wait to see them again at Peats Ridge.
3. Kirin J. Callinan: BIGSOUND Live
This gig was really refreshing. I spent all day at BIGSOUND listening to pop and indie bands. Then to walk into a very dark Press Club to see Kirin J playing alongside members of Jack Ladder and Midnight Juggernauts was spine chillingly cool. They wielded a completely evil sound full force at the crowd. Kirin lurked and prowled like some kind of sex offender with a guitar full of molesting sinfulness, and I mean that in the best possible way.
4. Last Dinosaurs – My Lounge Room
We had a house party a few weeks ago and managed to talk our mates Last Dinosaurs into playing. Everyone was in the best mood and danced like complete lunatics. To have an awesome band play where I usually play Xbox and watch TV was totally surreal. When they dropped ‘Zoom’ the old Queenslander floor started bouncing and I was in actual fear of losing my bond. I love house party shows, and this was one of the best ones by far.
5. Dune Rats: Big Day Out
I’ve watched this band blossom from small time garage band stoners to big time American touring stoners. I love watching them. A Dune Rats show is not only about the music but also about how Danny and BC’s antics and banter win over every crowd they play to. I remember rocking my Dune Rats T-shirt to this gig and have Danny point at me and go “that guy in Dune Rats Shirt’s got weed!” All the security in the place gave me the stank eye and I swiftly ducked into the crowd. I remember this gig as being a turning point for them from playing small time club shows to being able to pull off a big stage performance. It was awesome to be a part of.
Geoffrey O’Connor: BIGSOUND
Tame Impala: Splendour in the Grass
Battles: Big Day Out
Bass Drum of Death: Oh Hello