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Livestock: 31st May


It’s set to be a long winter in chilly old Melbourne town, but what better place to take it easy in the winter than Melting Pot? Just the name alone makes you feel warmth already.

Livestock is Melting Pot’s latest incarnation, as they attempt a return to the ‘band night’ philosophy which their name was synonymous with since the very beginning, but has been strayed away from in recent times.

After attending a few of these nights, I find the general quality of acts and crowd reception improving as weeks go by.

This edition kicked off with a solid set of what I could only describe as ‘harmonic hard rock’. Before Days End were the act and, despite the singer’s voice having the ‘flu scratch’, they didn’t disappoint the punters. Clear punk influences seeped through into their set, and was always a ‘background’ image. However, their quality musicianship elaborates to a more progressive rock sound, reminiscent of Melbourne’s own Sleep Parade with hints of Papa Roach.

Drumstick tricks clearly added to the performance, no doubt, as many in the crowd (including the next performers) were very fixated on the drummer’s ability to catch the damn thing every time! He has clearly spent just as much time practising the actual instrument, as well; because he kept succinct and creative beat and rhythm throughout the set, almost effortlessly. I only say ‘almost’ because the intermittent drumstick toss was a clear sign of effort!

The bass was punchy and the two guitars in the band complimented each other seamlessly, wailing in unison. It’s hard to say that the band were ‘typical’ of this genre without it sounding like a cop-out. There are many bands competing for a similar sound who would certainly not put on a top show as Before Days End did at Livestock. I’d keep an ear close to the ground about this act as they seem to me to have a great sound together: commercial enough without being sickening, and talented enough without being wanky. A great balance and, in a genre I have strayed away from in recent years, I found myself actively listening and taking it all in.

Next up: The Give. I wasn’t sure what to expect after the opening act. The Give strips things back a little while still maintaining a general rock vibe, however more dynamic influences are at play in their set. I’d be very interested to ask of their influences – which I didn’t end up getting a chance to do later in the evening – because it appears to me to be a very unique sound.

Dynamic, harmonic and easy to listen to. My full attention was focused on the stage for the entirety of The Give’s show. There were some clear funk undertones in essence but the overall vibe, as I said before, was that of a modern rock band shading slightly to a 70’s vibe. They give an air of energy in their performance, and a good stage presence which is hard to come by these days. I enjoy the involvement each player brings to he band and the instinctive joy that they bring forth to all; just happy to be on stage and giving us this beautiful creation.

There was great harmonic structure between all instruments, which were arranged in a very sensible manner. Each had their place without being overbearing or ‘out of place’. Synth and guitars add dynamic while the bass and drums keep a tight structure, and seem to have creative license which is always a good thing.

They describe themselves as ‘indie rock’, but I beg to differ. Their sound is much more involving than this and penetrates into other sectors of musical knowledge. Solid.

We had Capcha up next, and as soon as I saw brothers at the front of the stage, I knew we were in for some sweet, sweet harmonies.

Who said rock ‘n’ soul was dead? Hall & Oates would be mighty proud of the opening number from Capcha. I could have been forgive for thinking it was the first Saturday night at Bella Union and Soul-a-Go-Go was my surroundings. A sexy, vintage Wurlitzer electric piano filled the room with such warmth. My heart was pounding just to hear such beauty exist from an instrument.

Capcha showed their diversity and further sent us back in time with hints of The Doors (particularly lead by the aforementioned Wurlitzer) and The Beatles revealing themselves throughout the set. Those brotherly harmonies casting memories back to the days of Lennon/McCartney. A perfect duo of soul-wrenching, heart-filling harmonic display.

The girls got up and dancing, which is the first time I had seen at my couple of Livestock shows – so extra brownie points for that; even if I didn’t join in. The drums kept things incredibly tight, Marley Berry-Pearce holds the same ‘swampy drums’ characteristic that I remember seeing from a young bloke named Travis Constable when he used to play for Simon Wright & The Eclective in their long-running Evelyn residency. The energy pulsated through from the back of the stage and the aura was set from there.

Vocally reminiscent of something so beautiful you struggle to even come up with the words to suffice. Again, Lennon/McCartney is the best I could do. These guys are just shit hot musicians, and they know what they’re doing, no end. They made sure the show was for the audience, and not all about them, which is a quality unsurpassed in the most gracious of performing circles.

If you haven’t seen Capcha yet, they are definitely in my top 5 acts in Melbourne RIGHT NOW. I reckon all of those 5 come from Melting Pot experiences, as well. So if that doesn’t tell you enough about Livestock Thursdays at the John Curtin, and of course all the great things that Melting Pot do around this beautifully musical city of ours, then I have clearly failed to get the message across, or you’re just not into good music.

Review by Josh Forner for Melting Pot Online

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.

Author Details

Josh Forner

Josh Forner is a folk/pop songwriter from Melbourne, Australia and Virginia, USA. Forner was born in Melbourne on July 2 1988, and spent the first 18 months of his life there before moving with his parents to the town of Reston in Virginia, USA. At the age of 3, Forner and his mother returned to Melbourne, where he has stayed ever since.

Josh sings of love, primarily (wow, what a shock right?), but also on his list of ‘hot topics’ are politics, famine, poverty and - of course – landscapes: the folk writer’s favourite.

He’s played with some of Melbourne’s stalwarts including Timothy Cannon, Bridget Pross, Mr Brady, Pro Rata, Gabriel Lynch & Kyle Taylor, and has contributed two of his tracks to non-profit compilation CDs in the past.

Josh’s repertoire continues to grow. He released his first album, a 10-track LP entitled ‘Leading to Nowhere’ at The Workers Club on May 28th, 2013. Forner has since returned to the studio to begin work on a 5-track solo EP to be released by the end of 2013. Following that, he has plans for album number two in 2014.

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