[ME], Gladstone & Lochaber, Hunz @ The Troubadour, Sat 24 Jan

The Australia Day long weekend has well and truly arrived and after wading through hordes of inebriated Valley revellers, The Troubadour’s cosy, red velvet-adorned stage is a welcome sight. With firm knowledge that fantastic support acts are a Troub tradition, tonight’s independent music extravaganza kicks off in fine style as local laptop guru-cum-Thom Yorke’s spiritual compadre Hunz assumes control. Augmented by spiralling 5-string bass runs and tasty, trigger-assisted drums, the facial hair-sporting, keyboard-ambushing artist unleashes a number of thoroughly convincing, melodically complex numbers with twice the fire that Pivot usually allow for, gaining a number of new disciples (including this writer) in the process.

Next on, fellow Brisbanites Gladstone & Lochaber should have probably learned that sheer earnestness does not compensate for near-total absence of crowd interaction, no matter how heroic their stage antics or guitar workouts are. Despite drawing a considerable number of people to the stage, the majority of G&L’s reverb/echo-heavy set collapses into a sludgy, predictable indie-rock stew which is only somewhat spiced up by a pulsing, airy U2 detour (which is still hardly The Temper Trap’s Sweet Disposition) and a French song in open E that manages to successfully marry The Stranglers’ La Folie to Logic Will Break Your Heart-era Stills.

Freddy Mercury circa Bohemian Rhapsody? For real? Sure, why not – stuff The Darkness! The mighty Queen could not perhaps ever thought of better heirs than Melbourne’s [ME], and the immediate general consensus among the packed venue is that the fresh-faced quarted are fucking excellent musicians who could give The Fleet Foxes a run for their money with their harmonic vocal interplay (no joke). Whether it’s the histrionic soaring crescendos, juicy Brian May-style hammer-ons and fretboard fireworks or the grandiose, Muse-reminiscent piano breaks, the kids are simply more than alright – they are on fire. Working the heavily perspiring crowd into fervour with their own, exquisite brand of theatrical rock, [ME] apply a killer final touch by executing a tribal triple drum assault. Get back to Brissy soon boys – you fucking rock!