END OF FASHION
NOWHEREMAN BREWING COMPANY
Debut Album Vinyl Release Secret Gig
As far as secret gigs go, this one was hardly secret by the time Friday arvo rolled around, and the 3pm mental clock-off had consumed most of Perth’s sane population. Set to be held at West Leederville’s newish Nowhereman brewery, it was kind of fitting for this heavily Beatles-influenced band to be playing in a place named after one of John Lennon’s most self-aware songs. Perth’s End of Fashion became household names back in 2005 when their eponymous debut charted at Number 3. Not only did Triple J play their poppy hit singles ‘O Yeah’, ‘She’s Love’ and ‘The Game’ but even the commercial stations jumped aboard and gave the band a brief nation-wide following. It should also be mentioned that this was when people still habitually bought CDs and so the ARIA charts had a tad more relevance than today.
…the current lineup is better than the original and any who came after.
Like any Australian band that gets successful and is even the tiniest bit happy about it, the tall-poppy brigade swooped in to piss and moan about the band’s perceived ‘arrogance’. During the backlash the band followed up their debut with a massive single, ‘Fussy’ followed by an album that shifted a pinky toe’s worth of units compared to the first. Before long the band disbanded just as Facebook started to take over people’s lives and the ‘new age’ began.
Then – just last year – End of Fashion returned in a fresh lineup that was devoted to playing the early stuff. I won’t even mention the forgettable third album – a record that alienated fans and caused frontman Justin Burford to rethink his career.
Fast forward to Friday night, 8:30PM, around 150 people had gathered in celebration of the band’s debut record being re-released on 12″ vinyl. Somehow back in 2005, the industry bigwigs didn’t let them press one! So this was virgin wax and a grand occasion for a rock show in a brewery.
Kicking off with ‘Love Comes In’ and ‘She’s Love’ this reviewer was happily shocked at how good the sound was in the cavernous, industrially attired innards of the venue. The band were tight as buggery and – dare I say – the current lineup is better than the original and any who came after.
Most noticeably, the addition of AJ on Bass – a master of his instrument and a former member of Birds of Tokyo before they got shit – brought an immense presence to the stage and a power to the overall mix.
Speaking of presence, Burford himself seemed a little subdued. Shy, perhaps. Subdued might be a better word. Dressed in a Military coat with beady necklaces, the man’s vocals shone forth instantly. He hits the high notes better than ever and his range is truly phenomenal.
As ‘Lock Up Your Daughter’s’ “Da Da Da Daaa” refrain burst out of the speakers the dance floor started to fill up and the band hit their stride. Out came ‘Fussy’ and then we hit the big time: the group’s best ever song, ‘Rough Diamonds’ was aired to a spellbinding reception. What a tune it still is! Simple as hell, but man, does it hit the right spot. Burford is a lucky man to have caught that off the clouds. It’s easily in the top 3 songs to come out of Perth, ever.
Rounding off the night with ‘O Yeah’ and ‘The Game’ the boys outdid themselves and their energy climaxed right at the end of the set – a big crescendo of vibes to accompany the punters as they disappeared out into the night.