First, I blew them off. They asked me for a review and I said no.
Then, I offered them a gig, but it didn’t come off and after some emails from their side and uncertainty on mine, I defaulted to the industry standard no reply. I blanked them.
Finally, I offered them another gig and, tenacious young folk that they are, they said yes. Then they emailed me back to check I wasn’t yanking their chain again.
“Is it really on?” they asked.
“Yes,” I replied, fingers crossed behind my back, it was as ‘on’ as anything ever is in this industry. At that point, I still had to navigate my way through a nervous booker and slow ticket sales before the event was out of danger of being pulled.
At the close of their set I wanted them to smash up the equipment on stage, that would have been a fitting end to their outing.
On the night, they marvelled at the venue’s green room and went about introducing themselves to the other musos and the beer. By the time they came on stage, they were primed and, from where I was sitting, on a comfy chair at the back of the venue, looked like they gave it everything they had. At the close of their set I wanted them to smash up the equipment on stage, that would have been a fitting end to their outing. Of course, they didn’t. When most of what’s on stage doesn’t belong to you, you’d have to be Cold Chisel at the ARIA’s before you went down that path of self-destruction. But I wanted them to. Hopefully some day they will. Their approach to their songs and their performance deserves that kind of spontaneous mayhem, even just once.
As they were playing, I leaned over to my colleague and suggested there was nothing wrong with them a good producer couldn’t fix. There was nothing wrong with them at all, of course, it’s just that they trade in a certain kind of pop punk that can lead to overreach at times, particularly live. Bands like Green Day didn’t make it big until they learned the value of not playing their instruments. This lot is still coming to that realisation. But, no matter, they’re raw, they’re ready and they’re keen as mustard. Besides, what would be the point of local music if all you ever got was the complete article?
Their recorded output is surprisingly mature for a band at their early stage. Have a listen to them on Spotify and you’ll hear that in songs like ‘These Kids’, where all the dynamics and studio craft are already there. Their recordings are what attracted me to them in the first place, so, while I initially refused their request for a review, I was interested in booking them so I could see what they were up to live. I have to say, the moment they broke into a medley that opened with a rakish take on the Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ I was hooked. When I see them again, I’ll be listening for the spaces between the movements of their songs. Then I’ll know that they’re definitely maybe destined for some sort of greatness.
The band? Ojay.
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