LIVE: The Panics, live at ANU Bar, Canberra (22-09-11)

Avalanche City opened the night, and I’m glad they made the trip from New Zealand. Their folkish hooks came coupled with instrumentation that felt both delicate at times, and very powerful at others. The rapid guitar picking jumped up from the tinkling additions of a glockenspiel and what seemed like a cross between a mandolin and a banjo (actually, according to Wikipedia it’s a “manjo” – you learn something new every day!). They were surprisingly good for a support act, and it was nice to start the night with a band that has not only a firm grasp of their sound, but also the talent to bring it across live. The only things I think their music and live show would benefit from is more explosive and giant moments. The potential to build them is there, they just need to take hold of it. But Avalanche City put on a great show, and are well worth checking out.

Next up were Georgia Fair. Known more widely as the band that wrote the song on that milk commercial, don’t be too quick to put them in a box (as great as “Picture Frames” is), because these guys have matured and developed since then. The softly-spoken folk numbers filled the bar, in-between guitar stabs and intricate backing melodies, and the band poured forth emotion, showing off both older tracks and newer unreleased ones.

Provided Georgia Fair don’t fall into the over-populated group of bands I call the “Boy And Bear niche”, they’ll have a great future ahead of them. With a sense of pace and melody, it would be interesting to see the band bring some bite into their sound, because I think it’s something they could definitely achieve well.

At any rate, Georgia Fair have a sense of style grounded in beautiful harmonies, and right now that’s more than enough to provide an entertaining set. The duo are preparing to release their full-length debut in about a month’s time, so make sure you look out for it!

There’s something quintessentially Australian about The Panics. From their modest yet enthusiastic stage presence, to their grandiose melodies, there’s something about them that screams out “geniune” and “down to earth”. It’s an attractive quality in musicians really, because no one enjoys going to a gig where the musicians’ ego crowds out the room. The fact that The Panics carry themselves in such a way does everything to reinforce the passion they have for their craft, and when you’re watching a passionate band perform, there isn’t much more you can ask for.

Running through a slew of older tracks, with a handful from their 2007 J-Award-winning album Cruel Guards, the band also introduced the polite crowd at ANU Bar to a few numbers from their latest release – Rain on the Humming Wire. That said, understandably “Don’t Fight It” received a very warm welcome, as did “Majesty” and “Get Us Home” (which was brought out for the encore).

As subdued as some of their songs are, the band’s energy and playing carried the performance. Jae Laffer’s very distinctive movements showed a man absorbed in the moment, and between the relaxed grooves and frenetic playing of the other members, the band didn’t drop a beat (from what I could tell).

It would’ve been particularly impressive to see them bring a brass player on tour for some of the instrumentation, in particular the melodies in “Don’t Fight It”. But I understand the logistics of these things make it often not worth the hassle, and the song didn’t suffer as a result which is the important thing.

The Panics put on a tight show, with impressive playing and a warming stage presence. It’s hard not to enjoy a band like this, especially when you have a perfect crowd. Their blend of alt-rock with slow-crawl country influences may not be entirely ground-breaking musical territory, but The Panics prove that when sometimes coupling a considerable amount of talent and dedication, a performance becomes less about challenging an audience and more about pulling them in – and that’s exactly what they do.

TOUR: The Panics and The Drones!

First up, The Panics have revealed that they’ll be heading around the country playing songs from their latest album, Rain On The Humming Wire. These guys have been fairly busy of late, but now they’re back out on the road, and they’re doing quite a few shows. Try and see them somewhere if you can.

Dates and venues:

Friday 26th August – Mess & Noise Lunchbox, Worker’s Club
Wednesday 14th September – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River
Thursday 15th September – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury
Friday 16th September – Astor Theatre, Perth
Saturday 17th September – Fly By Night, Fremantle
Wednesday 21st September – Anu Bar, Canberra
Thursday 22nd September – Uni Bar, Wollongong
Friday 23rd September – Level One, Leagues Club, Newcastle
Saturday 24th September – Metro Theatre, Sydney
Thursday 29th September – Saloon Bar, Launceston
Friday 30th September – Wrest Point Showroom
Thursday 6th October – Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
Friday 7th October – Hi Fi, Brisbane
Saturday 8th October – Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast
Wednesday 12th October – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
Thursday 13th October – Bended Elbow, Geelong
Friday 14th October – The Palace Theatre, Melbourne
Saturday 15th October – The Gov, Hindmarsh

Looks like tickets go on sale at 9am on the 10th of August (that’s when Canberra goes on sale anyway), from, uh… all over the place really. Check out their blog post over here to see where you need to buy your tickets from (and check release dates too, just ’cause these will probably go pretty fast).

In slightly more exciting news (for me, personally), The Drones have announced a handful of shows as well! I’ve heard glowing reviews of The Drones’ live performances, so I will definitely not be missing them when they swing by Canberra. Adalita will be supporting all shows as well!

These shows will run alongside the release of their live DVD, entitled A Thousand Mistakes, which is released on the 16th of September, and if you’re a fan of The Drones you’re definitely going to want to pick it up.

Check out the trailer for it below these tour details:

Friday 7th October – ANU Bar, Canberra
Saturday 8th October – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Friday 14th October – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Friday 21st October – The Bakery, Perth
Saturday 22nd October – The Governor Hindmarsh , Adelaide
Friday 28th October – The Hi Fi, Brisbane
Saturday 29th October – The Metro, Sydney

Tickets go on sale on the 11th of August, from all over the place, again. The lovely folk at Tone Deaf have all the details if you’re interested! Over here!