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Live Review: The Kramers, Surfin Bird, Little Odessa & Velociraptor @ Trainspotters 26.10.13

velociraptors

When I walked into Trainspotters on Saturday night I felt as if it was ten years earlier and I was crammed in the basement of some kid’s house with a hundred other people who were all here for the same purpose – to have a damn good party.

This was precisely why what appeared to be the entirety of Brisbane was packed into the Grand Central Hotel – to celebrate Trainspotters first birthday, signposted by streamers, balloons, party poppers, party pies and a birthday cake. But perhaps this amped up party atmosphere was the reason why I didn’t enjoy this night as much as other nights at Trainspotters. People got right into the party atmosphere, but perhaps a little too much and in the process, forgot the real reason Trainspotters exists – for the music.

The Kramers set off the party mood with a frenzied Ian-Curtis inspired performance by frontman Ethan Kernaghan, in which he ended up on the ground squirming uncontrollably, whilst bass player Conor Claffey furiously stomped on every balloon within site. Having seen The Kramers quite a few times over the past year this was nothing new to me. It’s always fun and Ethan always projects every iota of energy contained in his spastic being, but after the first few times the show begins to lose its novelty. The Kramers have been around long enough that they don’t need to rely so heavily on stage antics for a good show. These guys definitely have some magic about them or else they wouldn’t still be around, but it’s time we saw some maturity - even rock n roll has to grown up at some point. But there’s no need to be too hard on them, with Conor being the only member who can actually legally enter the premises.

I barley have time to get a drink before the next band starts, Surfin Bird. I was expecting a garage act to follow The Kramers, also because I presumed the band name was a nod to The Trashmen. But instead the band sounded like one of many generic indie rock bands barely distinguishable in the Triple J slush pile. All the band members put a lot of vigour into the performance, but again I feel like this is another case of a band relying on gimmicks to win over their audience, with one of the band members sporting a helmet with a camera attached on the top for no apparent reason.

After Surfin Bird I am super keen for Little Odessa, a band I have heard a decent amount of hype about, described to me as, ‘sixties pop meets The Hives.’ There is definitely a strong element of pop to Little Odessa, but little of a Hives-esque garage style to their music, which would have definitely evened out the bubblegum pop sound that is more Backstreet Boys than The Kinks. Even so, Little Odessa showed some promise when they performed covers of The Sonics’ ‘The Witch’ and Elvis Costello’s ‘Pump It Up.’ If there was a bit more edge to their music with more garage influences implemented in the style of the Sonics and The Hives and an extra element of quirkiness with Elvis Costello new wave then they would have something really special on their hands.

It’s been good for headlining band Velociraptor to give their fans a small break over the past few months as they’ve toured Europe, so that we can all learn to love them again. Like The Kramers, Velociraptor have been implementing the same wild stage antics in their shows for a number of years and it has unfortunately become a little stale, even if the songs are still clever and catchy. By this point in the night the room capacity has somehow miraculously doubled so that I am tucked down the back where I have a lovely view of a pole. I can still hear the band, but not for long as Jeremy Neale is forced to abandon his microphone out of exhaustion as he boldly enters the audience pit. I manage to squeeze my way into the mass, but I am quickly hauled to the back of the room by violent moshers. With my drink on the floor and on some unfortunate girl’s dress, I give up on trying to get into the thick of it all. And where’s the fun in having a party if nobody can even dance?

What happens next with Velociraptor is pivotal to their future success. I don’t think anybody expected anything ground-breaking or innovative at Trainspotters First Birthday with so many people crammed into the venue, too drunk too care about the bands. But this is definitely the time for Velociraptor to prove whether or not they can offer more than a fun show, which we will see in due time as the band prepare a new album release. Out of any of the bands tonight these guys are definitely the ones who have the most potential to do more than party hard, with the band’s many side projects, such as dreamy, surf-pop crooners Keep On Dancins, psych-garage-space-rockers Tiny Migrants and hard and fast garage three-piece The Sulphur Lights demonstrating the variety of talent involved in Velociraptor.

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