REVIEW: The Age Music Awards After Party

170 Russell hosted The Age Music Awards After Party, with triple-threat Harvey Sutherland, Gold Class and Cable Ties making for a juicy bill. The all-Melbourne talent showcase let loose three bands that have all released equally outstanding records throughout 2017, but the combination of the bands was a perplexing choice. Post-punks Gold Class and Cable Ties are considerably similar; in dynamic, popularity and experience. Contrastingly, Harvey Sutherland, with his band Bermuda, are the true after party merchants and are as far from punk as possible. Dealing in cosmic-disco, Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda’s hour-long instrumental set had the After Party audience grooving from start to finish, rather than head-banging.

Punk trio Cable Ties set the wheels in motion for the After Party, a band that has catapulted from playing tiny dive bars to regular triple j rotation. It’s no secret their popularity rise is down to front-woman Jenny McKechnie’s catchy guitar chords, Nick Brown’s driving bass rhythm and Shauna Boyle’s relentless drum beltings. But Cable Ties’ real attention-grabbing component is McKechnie’s infuriated vocal delivery, on record and during performances. McKechnie singing was incessant all throughout their short and sharp After Party set, not letting up on any song. The group’s debut single ‘Same for Me’ was undoubtedly the liveliest performed song, with McKechnie demonstrating her merciless vocals and the band acting as a well-oiled cog. The only blight on Cable Ties’ show is that they didn’t play their most popular track, ‘The Producer’.

Similarly to Cable Ties, Gold Class have experienced a monumental rise with their sophomore album Drum. Although they are rushed with their performance from the tight scheduling, Gold Class don’t appear to be a band that mucks around with charming the crowd. Rather, they place all their energy into their musicianship, and the formula is spot on. Front-man Adam Curley’s voice is reminiscent of many ‘80s acts, particularly that of The B52’s Fred Schneider. The vocalist’s on-stage presence is mysterious, cool and consuming – pretty much everything a band wants from their front-man. The quartet whisked through tracks from their two albums, with Drum opener ‘Twist In The Dark’ proving to be a real show-stopper. Curley’s pipes were on full display, as guitarist Evan James Purdey’s riffs pierced throughout the gripping track.

Although Cable Ties and Gold Class put on terrific performances, it wasn’t until Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda stepped out that the After Party genuinely began. HS&B is up there with the most unique acts in Australia; on record and on stage. Have you ever seen a violinist lead a band? Well I hadn’t, until HS&B. Harvey Sutherland, the alias of Mike Katz, is the HS&B front-man, but his electronic strings bearer, Tamil Rogeon, is seemingly the spiritual leader. Prior to the break on tracks like ‘Bamboo’ and ‘Coast 2 Coast’, Rogeon, with violin slung over one shoulder, was at the forefront of the stage, provoking the adoring audience into elation. The funk masters that are HS&B knew how to excite the crowd, even when there was no genuine front-man/vocalist to take the role.

The Age Music Awards and the following After Party was one that needs commending. Although it isn’t as high-budget or high-class, the 2017 edition rivalled the ARIAs. Little known home-grown acts Cable Ties, Gold Class and Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda came together to show Melbourne just how incredible the talent is in the city.

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