It was a cold, cold Saturday night in Fixie-ville. Much of Melbourne was in mourning / drowning their sorrows / slicing up and not across after the Hawks failed to beat the Swans in a quite convincing manner. Their expertise in not beating the Swans was unrivalled on this particularly day, as they did their best Buzz Aldrin impersonation by tightly grasping onto that second spot and simply refusing to relinquish it. Despite this pervading climate of malaise, the Northcote Social Club somehow managed to be both packed and pumping. This was due in no small part to the presence of The Vaudeville Smash and their unmistakable sound. This is simply because The Vaudeville Smash are not your average band…
To try to pigeonhole The Vaudeville Smash into a specific genre is rather challenging, given that they span so many. Their sound is maybe best described as anachronistic; as though it has stepped fresh off the DeLorean and bought back with it every type of music that was created prior to 1985. Then again, maybe this isn’t the best description, but it definitely is the best that I can come up with at this juncture. Disco, funk, jazz and soul influences are found throughout to create a sound that would not be out of place on the soundtrack of Blacula, Blackenstein or The Blunchblack of Blotre Blame. Ooh funky…
Crowd favourite Hey was the first cab off the rank and served as a worthy precursor of what was to follow. The croquembouche of a set was coming together nicely, with the flute and saxophone being brought to the boil and the synths were also tempered to perfection. Next up, one and a half cups of falsettos were folded through and all the ingredients were there for a great night and a truly terrible analogy. All that was left to do was to plate up and garnish with a sprinkling of incredibly enthusiastic dancing by the masses assembled in front of the stage. Portion control went completely out the window in this department, as the crowd went somewhat mental. It was just that sort of night.
There really wasn’t any flat point throughout, Roller Disco was warmly received as was pretty much everything else. Strangest Dream continued the disco inferno in all of its synthesized glory, whilst Drunken Cowgirl also displayed a firm mastery of that all too rarely used literary device, the single entendre. As this was the Best Night single launch, it is somewhat appropriate that this single took pride of place in a night of so many highlights. With an earworm of a chorus, this is a track that is sure to feature heavily in the summer of a lot of people.
A decent way of judging how well a set is travelling is by looking at how the numbers in the crowd vary throughout the night. If by the time the encore comes around, you have enough room that you can swing the proverbial cat, chances are that it is either a) a school night or b) a bit of a “meh” set. Quite why you would want to swing a cat is open to debate and is maybe something you should see a psychologist or another similarly trained mental health care professional about. Tonight however, all thoughts of unusual cruelty towards cats were put to one side as the number of people in the Northcote Social Club band room actually increased as the night progressed.
Unfortunately however, the gig experience for me was curtailed tonight as the late last train back to the city isn’t really all that late. It did smell however, so I suppose that is something at least. Oh and there was also a guy trying hard to pick up this girl by saying that he was a flamenco guitarist. He stated with an extraordinary level of confidence that was probably not shared by anyone who wasn’t him that he was a keen improviser who played the notes rather than chords. Another of the patrons of the train suggested that to be any good, you probably needed to understand how to do both and that Mr Flamenco was in fact, a bit of a twat. Significant backpedalling ensued and there were probably people thrown off the Titanic that would have flailed about less tragically than this poor chap…
These however were only minor inconveniences in a night where The Vaudeville Smash delivered a great performance that was wholeheartedly welcomed by the adoring crowd. The Vaudeville Smash are very much mavericks, as they have taken the road less travelled by not sounding like every other piece of disposable pop that is to be found littering so many street corners, much like Starbucks before they weren’t anymore. They will always be ridiculously talented, but they have also remained true to their ideals and have proven themselves to be one of the best live acts in Melbourne.
Live review provided by our gig radar and your gig radar Aymeric de Rosbo. Follow him on twitter here
If you want to pick up a FREE copy of the new single ‘Best Night’, get in on their Social Unlock action FREE DOWNLOAD HERE.
You can also catch Vaudeville Smash live in Sydney at The Beresford Hotel on October 13th. For more details, check out the gig here.
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