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REBLOG from August 2013

Welcome to the Astral Rock Tour 2013! Featuring The Halls, Dave’s Pawn Shop and Love Hate Rebellion, the tour has taken this talented trio of bands all the way to Victoria and back again. Heading home, they wrapped up the second last show of the tour at the Valley’s Zoo bar. Below is a recap of how the night went!

Love Hate Rebellion

Starting the night of with an explosion of sound was Love Hate Rebellion. I last saw LHR back in April at the Beetle Bar, and was immediately hooked by their mysterious, slightly dark and edgy music. A three piece act consisting of Jimmy Sky on Vocals/Guitar, Ariana Pelser on bass and Anthony Lawrence on drums, they combine grungy/hard rock music with emotional lyrical themes, taking listeners on ‘a journey into the human spirit’. Describing just what it is that makes this band so captivating is at times hard to pinpoint, but once you’ve seen them you’ll understand the loss of not knowing such an amazing group of musicians earlier!

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As performers, Ariana and Jimmy are never anything other than spectacular to watch. Having recently lost their 4th member Rachel (Ariana’s sister) due to other commitments, the band had a tough time restructuring their entire set for their Astral Rock Tour

Talking with Ariana after the show she told me about some of the highlights from the tour, and how they got through all of the craziness. 

“Unfortunately it was just one of those silly accidents,” she says, talking about her injuries. “I broke my hand about 2 weeks prior to the tour and went into hospital a few days later to have surgery – they had to put a metal plate and pin in my little hand so I’m basically a Bionic women now!” she laughs.

“I wasn’t actually sure if I’d be able to play the tour until the night before when I went to see my surgeon for his final opinion. Oh that was a sleepless night! Luckily for me it all ended up working out. Stubbornness does help a great deal with situations like this and I’ve been told that I have plenty of it!”

There is an insane energy, mystery and maturity that surrounds vocalist Jimmy Sky when he performs; his powerful, raw and hyper-emotional vocals often leave me feeling like I’m in a limbo somewhere between the 80s and now. Ariana too, is an amazing musician to watch; one moment she is peacefully playing along and the next she’s twisting on the floor with her bass, caught up in a frenetic and passionate love affair.

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Daves Pawn Shop

Dave’s Pawn Shop were a new experience for me; a gritty, growly 3 piece garage band whose musical influences include greats such as Nirvana, METZ, Queens of the Stone Age and Incubus. Consisting of Jake (vocals/guitar), James (Drums), and Jono (Bass), the band reminded me of a young Silverchair at times. I’m not sure if it was Jono’s long hair, or just that rocky garage band vibe, but with songs like ‘Fuck you’, ‘Genetics’ and ‘Drum intro’ (their work in progress) they’re definitely the perfect band to get you in the mood for some recklessness.

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Waiting for Dave’s Pawn Shop to start their set one thing that I immediately noticed was how packed the audience got. If you’ve seen their video ‘Hotdog Stand’ then it’s probably fair to say that you’ll recognise many of the faces in the audience – although things at the live show were a little more tame compared to the video! That said, if you haven’t seen DPS before then this video is a good indication of what their performances are like (minus the psychosis trip haha).

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I also feel it’s worth noting that James is one of those musicians who is just damn fun to watch. He always looks like he’s on top of the world, smashing down on his kit with his teeth bared; a combination of concentration and joy. If you want to see an example of the kind of faces I’m talking about just watch their clip for ‘Genetics’ – he’s a happy chappy. Listening to Jake, there were definite moments where I could hear Nirvana-ish influences in his vocals; his voice often screaming out from behind the constant pump of the smoke machine. “I said SHOUT!” he screams, another ball of smoke exploding from behind him; enveloping us in a haze of distortion and growly bass. My Verdict – DPS are the kind of band you want to throw back a beer and jump around to. Also, if you enjoy a good bass thrust, Jono can teach you a few tricks.

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The Halls Closing the night were Astral Rock’s headliner’s, The Halls. A four piece local band consisting of Bec Wolfers (Bass/Vocals), Ross Pridham (Guitar/Vocals), Ged (Guitar) and James Boothroyd (Drums), the group have often been described as ‘shiver pop.’ What that means exactly, has been difficult to pinpoint. At times gentle, yet others raucous, coarse and thrashing, the foursome are an interesting blend of atmospheric rock that often sounds like a mixture of The Divinyls, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Jezabels and The Cure. I’ve seen these guys a few times now and I have to say, they just keep on getting better!

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Sauntering onstage in a flowing leopard shirt, slick leggings and a collar of roses Bec is ever ethereal. Behind her, GIF-like images of the band play on screen along with candid snaps from their road tripping experience. Starting the set with their cocky tune ‘Body Shock’, the band set the tune for the rest of the night – a mixture of eclectic sounds and melodic riffs that explore themes of love, death and life through dramatic storytelling. Along with favourites such as Thespian, The Baron, and Dancing on Your Grave (which recently featured in an episode of ‘Offspring’) there were also quite a few new songs as well. It was particularly nice to hear a shift in some of the new material to really highlight Bec’s vocals with acapella sections, such as the song ‘Swallow your words’.

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Anyone who knows Bec well, understands her integrity to music and authenticity. Always sexy, yet never self-exploitive, she is both musically and visually captivating. Her appeal is that she is a true musician, not an individual looking to cash-in by putting her image above her talent; a rare quality in today’s music culture. It’s also not unusual to see guys and girls fall in love with Bec when she performs. As one girl explained to me after the show, “I’m really into strong female performers who don’t sell themselves out;” agreeing with me that this was one of the reasons she really enjoyed The Halls performance. Sharing with us about the southern leg of their Astral Rock tour, Bec noted that it was a pretty chilled experience. Oh, except for that night where a naked guy got up onstage with them! “It was probably the weirdest thing,” joked Bec. “Turn around onstage…and there’s a dick right in our face!”

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I have to admit that aside from the music, one of my favourite elements on the night was the collage of film footage playing behind the bands as they performed. Forget culture-hyped music videos of women booty shaking or male artists surrounded by their fan girls…think mash-ups of old-school black and white horror movies, loops of awkward comedy scenes and cartoons all combined together as the visual accompaniment to the bands. Imagine watching a guy getting punched in the balls, repeatedly, while listening to Daves Pawn Shop. Or perhaps you’d enjoy watching a montage of ‘Freddy Got Fingered – Funny scenes Part 1’. Sound amazing? Yeah, you’re most definitely right.

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To find out more about all 3 of these crazy talented band, see the below links! Support local music, save the scene and share the love!

LOVE HATE BELLION   https://www.facebook.com/lovehaterebellionmusic

THE HALLS   https://www.facebook.com/thehallsband

DAVES PAWN SHOP   https://www.facebook.com/Davespawnshopband

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