Last Dinosaurs, Millions, Gung Ho @ The Zoo (24/04/2012)

Whether it was the promise of a public holiday the next day or just the pure excitement of seeing one of the biggest local successes in recent times, the Zoo was feeling unexpectedly full and lively on this unassuming Tuesday night. From the start, the three Brisbane bands on showcase tonight are ready to demonstrate why this show has earned sold-out status.

Local lads, Gung Ho, give it their all in playing their frenetic brand of indie rock shaded with elements of garage and surf. The trio are yet to release any recorded collections, but seem to enjoy the national tour they’ve embarked upon since their Unearthing on Triple J. It will be interesting to see the heights in store for Gung Ho as they establish themselves further in the local scene.

The buzz left by Gung Ho only left the dense gathering wanting more, as the second support arrived and stole the stage. Just like the previous band, the four guys of Millions emanate a strong sense of youth. And what’s a young guy going to be after in a sometimes dreary town? Girls, of course; that’s if their live cover of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby is anything to go by. Knowledge of the original artist seems to be mostly lost on the equally young crowd tonight, but Millions deliver this 60s classic true to their own style-trickling a sense of yearning which slots in well against their own love-longing songs, Slow Burner and Guru.

The beast to be unleashed onto the stage next, however, is not one to be taken for granted. Over the past four years, indie rockers Last Dinosaurs have crept up from the local scene to storm the nation. The band seems to take the same approach to their live show this tour, lulling the crowd with gentler, old favourites, before turning the notch up to ten by the end.

There is certainly a calm before the storm as the Last Dinosaurs set starts; the sound of gentle waves fills the darkened venue as four figures sneak onto the stage. It is the ambient track , Satellites, from their debut album and it provides a moment of reflection before the gleam of a large projector screen blazes upon the back wall, absorbing everyone’s attention. This well-placed bit of production adds a sense of excitement and professionalism as the band launch into older favourites, such as Time & Place.

EP gem, Saturn itself transports the audience into a nondescript time or place; the meandering guitar effects work alongside the swift percussion of drummer Dan Koyama, whose bowl cut is haloed by the flashing celestial images behind. These themes of space and time dwarf and put into perspective the trivial concerns of everyday life, although the lyrical content of the album is largely based on personal relationships. This juxtaposition is exactly what Last Dinosaurs’ debut album feeds and thrives upon.

“Has anyone got the album?” lead singer Sean Caskey asks to the answer of loud cheers. The four-piece took their time in writing their full-length, but this extra care has proved to be exactly what was needed. Released just two months ago, In A Million Years propelled Last Dinosaurs into a sharply heightened world of recognition and critical acclaim, involving Triple J feature album status, receiving praise from indie rock gods Bloc Party and achieving sold-out shows in all major city dates on their current national tour.

Lead guitarist Lachlan Caskey ’s intense stance is bathed in smoke as his dexterous guitar work outshines his young age and his peers in the music scene. He effortlessly laces the rhythm in songs I Can’t Help You, Sunday Night and Weekend, while the heavier rock of Andy is a clear a favourite. At this point, Sean lifts his guitar to play from behind his head as the mosh breaks out into full swing. The crowd then turns into a disco as the band detours for a double-cover of the biggest dance hits of 2000-Spiller’s Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) mashed into Modjo’s Lady (Hear Me Tonight).

The tropical rock of Honolulu is met with the loudest cheers yet, but it also signals the end of the show is near. At 50 or so minutes in, the set length is shorter than the average headline and may be a brief let-down for some. Nevertheless, no one could leave the venue disappointed as the infectious riff of Zoom fills the room and sets the crowd off into a four-minute frenzy of dancing and singing that would linger on well after The Zoo had rung silent.

Last Dinosaurs are playing their final show of the tour this Thursday in Brisbane, before they jetset off to play a bunch of shows in Europe this month. The Dinos leave the stage with a sincere dose of gratitude and a whole world of wonders ahead of them; “thank you so much, we love you, have a good night!”