Loon Lake @ Amplifier Bar (15/09/2012)

Cherry-lipped girls (and the guys who would inevitably try to pick them up) flocked in impressive numbers to the closing show of Loon Lake’s national tour. The substantial numbers were well appreciated by the first of two local supports, Rainy Day Women, whose sweet brand of blissed-out pop kicked off the night perfectly. Live, Dylan Ollivierre’s vocals sound like almost like Julian Casablancas in pop-mode. He led his shoeless bandmates through a set of lazy (in a good way), summery songs with some heavenly keyboard thrown for good measure in by otherwise guitarist Ross Pickersgill. But the saccharine nature of their sun-soaked tunes and cute whistling hooks were well balanced by clever rhythms and unexpected arrangements. Of course, the set closer was the harmonious Triple J favourite Sleigh Bed, which sparked a light bulb moment of recognition in a happily curious crowd.

The Rainy Day boys gave way to the grand entrance of Stillwater Giants, who looked intent on pumping up the energy levels of the nearly full room. As you might expect from four guys of Margaret River, the Giants drenched punters in wicked surf rock from the very first note. But not of the cruisy Sunday roadtrip variety – no, this was a much higher-octane affair. Guitarist Tom Godden was a man possessed with the desire to party, physically throwing himself into every driving riff like a seasoned rock god. In fact, the entire outfit hit the ultimate balance between rocking out like madmen whilst still delivering a completely polished performance.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that Stillwater Giants are a one-trick partying, surfing pony. The set also showcased darker flavours and Spanish-inspired guitars. Although they possibly lost points with the crowd for being Collingwood Magpies supporters, they made up for it with an inspired cover of Daft Punk’s One More Time that became an all-out dance party when the Rainy Day Women crashed the stage. A plug for their EP launch in October came before the final song, Not Like the Others, secured more than a few new fans.

After a super quick sound check, Loon Lake’s frontman Sam Nolan stood up centre stage, solo, for a heart wrenching rendition of Heart Stomper. But before long, he was joined by his fellow Loon Lakers to finish the song in a crescendo of sound. From there, the tempo picked up and the Victorian’s got into their zone. It was just as effortless as you would expect; wonderfully raw vocals slamming into a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, drummer Nick Nolan happily bashing away in the back and Simon Nolan, Tim Lowe and Dan Bull giving faultlessly tight and perfectly timed performances.

While playing, the good time lads genuinely seemed just stoked to be on stage and performing for such a rapturous audience. But in his on-stage banter, Sam was an upfront Ocker cheekily challenging the crowd to fights and slurring the infamous Collingwood FC. To the delight of sweaty gig goers, he jokingly chided Perth fans for bullying the band into visiting WA, which was not originally meant to be on the tour schedule at all. It was a slick change of character from that to the delivery of the nostalgic Thirty Three and a sincerely heartfelt cover of The XX’s Angels.

The Nolan brothers and their musical mates manipulated the energy of the crowd incredibly well, giving dancing shoes a rest between party tunes. The obvious crowd favourites Bad to Me, In the Summer and the infectious “wooh!” hook of Cherry Lips had Amps boogieing down in an arm flailing frenzy. But the cherry on the cake was a blistering cover of I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness. Not a dry armpit in the house.