Deep Sea Arcade @ The Phoenix, Melbourne (08/06/2012)
The first half of the evening celebrated the B-side – Brisbane. The state of Queensland has produced some of Australia’s finest sun-kissed pop bands, however Woe and Flutter are an exception to the rule. Despite their ‘60s surfer charm, everything else about them could be mistaken as very ‘Melbourne’; their tight vintage sweaters and slight ‘90s grunge flair blending nicely with bands such as The Fearless Vampire Killers and Twerps. Rightfully, songs from their debut EP featured prominently, such as Hooker Heel Feel and Cities of the Red Night. They have a very comfortable stage presence, but they need to be careful that it doesn’t translate as laziness, as their music is quite laid-back. Lyrically, their recent single Sharehouse Blues is akin to Ben Kweller’s Sha Sha and melodically reminiscent of early Beck. There are a plethora of young musicians in skinny jeans, crumpled denim jackets and messy ‘70s hairdos, but don’t let that deter you from checking out Woe and Flutter. Along the lines of Tame Impala meets Bleeding Knees Club, this group do have the makings of something great, they just need a little more love and attention over time to make that happen.
The Cairos have been playing the support act slot too long and need to step into the spotlight. The group was at ease and energetic on the small stage, bringing the venue to life and stirring dancing in even the most sober people. Their music falls into line with Last Dinosaurs’ jovial sensibility and Cloud Control’s rhythmic direction, however they demonstrate an attention to detail which is distinctly their own. Songs such as Lena and Seasons of Snow are so catchy it’s criminal, and with a loyal fan base already in tow, there is no excuse for a band this good to keep playing second fiddle. A cover of Kim Carnes’ Bette Davis Eyes invited the crowd to edge a little closer to the stage and sing-a-long. Their execution of Shame was faultless, in Alistair Richardson’s raw vocals and the powerful drum-beat. The latest release We All Buy Stars was a confident finish, and showcased why The Cairos should be on everyone’s radar.
The music scene isn’t void of bands re-creating the charm of the ‘60s, but Deep Sea Arcade does it so damn well it’s forgivable. This group emulate the era in every way possible; their love for the mod aesthetic evident from their haircuts to their long black coats. It is clear the group have had fans eagerly awaiting the release of their debut for quite some time, with an impatient audience raring to practice their best doe-eyed Nancy Sinatra impressions.
The opening track Seen No Right immediately got the party atmosphere going, with lead vocalist Nic McKenzie greeting the crowd shortly after and (somewhat nervously) announcing Triple J Live at the Wireless were recording the evening, as he took a photo of the enthusiastic crowd. After a string of successful singles, such as Crouch End (which was sadly left off the set list) and Don’t Be Sorry, the time and effort which went into crafting Outlands was also noticeable in its delivery; the stage complete with revolving lights and an interchanging psychedelic backdrop. If their high collared and paisley printed shirts weren’t enough to set the mood, the Phil Spector-reminiscent Together certainly cast your mind back to the bygone era of mini-skirts and turtle-necks. Even if you weren’t born until the ‘90s and learnt of The Beatles through your parents, Girls and If The Devil Won’t Take You provided a reference point for Blur connotations. This gig was full of highlights; the venue’s liveliness will be missed, it’s closure a sore spot for attendees when McKenzie mentions the sad news.
If you didn’t leave the gig inspired to buy a pair of white knee high boots or cut your hair like Paul McCartney, then you just weren’t paying enough attention to this group. Deep Sea Arcade provided a well thought-out and engaging performance, proving the wait for their album was worth it.