In his debut Sydney performance as a solo artist, Pets With Pets frontman Zayd Thring opened things up to a small but ultimately blown away crowd at the Lansdowne. His new material, although not that far away from his work with Pets With Pets, showed a less chaotic, more R'n'B side of the Melbourne songwriter. Influences like Blood Orange and Prince glistened off huge industrial drums with flourishes of melodica adding another unique layer to Thring’s grinding hymns.
Alex Cameron, although best known for his work in Seekae, has recently branched out as a singer songwriter. Unlike Zayd Thring before him, Cameron’s new stuff bears absolutely no resemblance to his previous band. His solo work is more Hall and Oates than Boards of Canada. On the menu this evening were conceptually strong and irony heavy 80s influenced power pop tracks, all of which are on his debut record Jumping The Shark. Tracks like The Comeback hark back to mid 80s Springsteen while Mongrel reminded this writer of a Suicide track written by Bowie.
Cameron’s stage show is also one of the strongest going around. His swagger is all encompassing and his band are the smoothest currently playing in this town. A quick survey of people in the room suggested I wasn’t the only one to think he may have played the live set by a local artist this year. Expect to hear a lot more from Alex Cameron in the next twelve months, dude is gonna be superstar ... actually he already kind of is ...
Coming on after Alex Cameron would be an absolute nightmare for most people but Lost Animal made it look easy. The Melbourne duo of Jarrod Quarrell and Shags Chamberlain have a reputation for being a project who only write amazing songs. There was no fat in their set at all. Every single note played was necessary, every line cutting through. Quarrell’s showmanship not only had everyone completely focused on the band but had half the room singing along, especially to tracks like Lose The Baby, a snarling creeper of an anthem and probably the best track played all night.
It’s rare that you get a bill so packed with quality, let alone a free one, but this one was certainly that. Although all three acts are established, they represent the future of songwriting in this country. Everything worked so well together and yet was so different. There are still a few months to go I’ll just throw it out there and say, ‘Gig Of The Year’.