SKELETON SONGS LAUNCH
THE GOODWILL CLUB
Photos by Adam Levi Browne Photography
Walking north along William Street around 1.00 am on a Sunday morning can feel like a bit of a tricky business. Once you get past the last of the cafes and bars, as the people thin out and the streetlights fade, you can feel a bit lonelier than is ideal. When I heard a voice coming from behind, saying, “Do you want to walk with us?” I was inclined to keep moving — these days you can never be too careful — but something made me slow down and look around the next time they called out and next thing I knew I was walking arm in arm with a well lubricated couple who proceeded to tell me all about their night out at Connections, one of Perth’s best known and longest-running nightclubs. It was a wonderful way to end what had turned out to be just about a perfect day. My only complaint was, they were too busy telling me about their exploits to ask me what I’d been up to. If they had, this is what I would have said…
This is music that should be played in arenas and this is a band that could easily handle treading such boards.
By pure coincidence (ha!), I’d spent Saturday afternoon listening to Radiohead’s In Rainbows. A bloody good album, if ever there was one, and one that, these days, brings to mind the latest opus from Perth avant-rock outfit, Triangle Fight. In fact, if I knew how, right now I’d be working on a mash up of the two opening tracks, ’15 Step’ from In Rainbows and ‘A Waking Dream The Longest Curse’ from Triangle Fight’s Skeleton Songs. I reckon it’d be a Tick Tock sensation and before I knew it Thom Yorke would be messaging me, and some juice company would be sending me a pick-up truck full of their product. Alas, making mash ups is yet another skill that I do not possess, so I’m stuck with writing this review. Guess I’d better get on with it and say something about the music.
I arrived at The Goodwill Club, a proper live music venue accessed via a back alley and a vertiginous flight of stairs, just in time to see the last few breaths of Sonnenmasse’s set, so there’s not really much I can say except that anyone who breaks into Gregorian chants between songs is definitely worth checking out properly. So, they’re on my list.
Next up was Will Stoker and the Embers. Given who they are, where they’ve been and where they could go (anywhere), if I were deciding the running order, I would have put this lot on just before the main act. In an ideal world, this is a band that should be playing bigger venues than the Goodwill Club. It’s only a flick of the tail of fate and front man, Stoker’s, early refusal to deal with the prospect of being properly famous that has his band appearing under such circumstances. What the audience got tonight was 40 minutes of immaculately dangerous rock and roll played by an outfit so tight they must have to have a band meeting to decide when to defecate, and fronted by one of the greatest front men ever to have stepped on a stage. Anywhere.
Will Stoker proved tonight that he’s still got it. He primped and preened, shadow boxed and karate kicked on the tiny stage and at times it looked like he was about to explode through the venue’s low ceiling. He was a sight to behold and his vocals did his case no harm either, ranging from spine tingling, heartfelt melody to the dark growl of a preacher man looking for souls to trash. Yep, he’s still got it. Question is, does he actually want it? Time will tell, but with new material that’s easily the match of their older stuff, there’s plenty of life still left in Will Stoker and the Embers.
Yomi Ship were up next, declaring themselves to be a dub reggae act before clicking into a set of the proggy, complex and showy instrumentals for which they’re fast becoming legends, on the Perth music scene, at least. I must declare my bias here: songs without lyrics leave me cold, so while I can see what they’re doing and how good they are at it, Yomi Ship will never make a single hair stand up on any part of my body. But, they are exceedingly good at what they do, so don’t take my word for anything; when it comes to this band, it’s me not them. Back announcing one of their pieces as a love song, I wondered whether it was possible for that particular type of tune to work without words. Asking Facebook after the show the answer was, of course, a resounding, “YES!” So, don’t listen to me. Yomi Ship are bloody good and you should go see them so you can make up your own mind.
One thing, however. That thing their drummer, Nick Osborne, does with the bandanna over his face…it must be really annoying having to keep pulling it back up throughout the set while still playing the drums. It’s bloody annoying to watch. Picky, I know, but if one is going to have a gimmick, best not to turn it into a wardrobe malfunction.
Now to Triangle Fight.
Tonight’s set will cement them as cult heroes on the Perth music scene. With new album, Skeleton Songs, under their belt and knowing, just quietly, that they’d achieved something of a zenith, Triangle Fight were ready to hit it hard this evening, and that’s exactly what they did. Playing to an adoring audience, they smashed through a set that was as driving as it was melodic and nuanced.
Describing yourself as playing avant- or experimental rock sets the bar pretty high before you’ve even played a single note. Many a band has crashed on such rocks, particularly when playing live, for want of the right combination of skill and heart. Based on this night’s performance, Triangle Fight wear their crown with exactly the right combination of bombast and goofy idiocy. These guys are serious, but bass player, Martin Gonzalez’s gold sequined jacket and front man, Paulo Gonzalez’s between song banter (“We love money and drugs are expensive.”) made sure that they don’t make their seriousness a cross too heavy to bear — for themselves and the audience.
In full flight, Triangle Fight are sublime. They’re a washing machine of sound, with just enough sharp edges to make you glad to be alive and just enough fabric softener to make you want to take cycle after cycle with them. Their stage tonight was too small. This is music that should be played in arenas and this is a band that could easily handle treading such boards.
My only complaint is that it ended all too soon. Midnight is too early to finish with such music. Triangle Fight are a band for the small hours, a band for the sweat and mayhem that only comes around every now and then at the confluence of that special alchemy that turns some bands from good into great. Let’s hope they can keep riding this wave.
Yes, all in all, it was just about a perfect day and, Triangle Fight, I’m glad I spent (some of) it with you.