My Fiction, Black Mustang, Hunz @ The Troubadour, Brisbane 07/02/09

In an uncharacteristic change from my last pilgrimage to the Troub, the crowd is very modest-sized tonight, this occurrence presumably caused by the majority of Brisbane’s gig-goers being at either Cold War Kids, Crystal Castles, The Streets or the freshly-reborn Wolfmother’s “secret” gig. However it doesn’t deter the incomparable Hunz from delivering another standout show; the haunting “down, down, fall down” sample barely fades when the furiously-swaying frontman summons a melange of Four Tet-like glitches before launching into another soaring, drawn-out chorus. The power trio dynamic is employed to full extent – I ‘ve already previously mentioned how impeccable the rhythm section is and how much beautiful, charging bottom end can be extracted from an unfashionable 5-string bass. Additionally, I’m now convinced that the band’s music is as much perfect pop as it is math-rock, Hunz’s Thom Yorkemeets*Chino Moreno* voice and modified synth/laptop skills a joy to behold. Let’s just hope he can never change, as he sings.

Tonight’s wildly eclectic bill has plenty of room for no-nonsense, Radio Birdman-style vintage rock & roll, which Black Mustang serve up with gusto. Celebrating their 5th anniversary as a band, singer/guitarists Steve Foster and Dave Starr, four-string punisher Dan Charlton and drummer Joe Hemingway launch into prime head- and hip-shaking ramalama; the swaggering Reason To Love, Suzie’s tambourine-aided sex beat, I’m Not Scared’s defiant crunch and signature tune The One’s glam stomp and genius three-power chord riff get both boys and girls moving and grooving. Ordering us to keep dancing, the quartet churn out a visceral Led Zep-like break before employing plenty of Chris Walken-satisfying cowbell on thudding set closer Jimmy; I am again reminded that local rock music doesn’t get any better than this and that Black Mustang’s Between The Devil And The Blue Sea album is a definite must for the car stereo – and other settings.

Rounding off the night, My Fiction are just as spot-on with their indie-disco throb as Black Mustang are with their classic piledrivers. There’s plenty of Robert Smith theatrics in frontman Eric Robinson’s voice as the band charge through the muscular rhythms of single Go and the exuberant_Your Tokyo_; riding the –  “80s-leaning track of the criminally underrated Departure and VHS Or Beta (circa Night On Fire), the four-piece are as fun to watch as their skittering, frequently wah-augmented riffs are catchy. Caught up in the excitement, lead guitarist James Laubscher jumps off the stage and proceeds to attack his instrument on the dancefloor to the collective delight. The big gigs might have attracted the wider crowd, but everyone present here at the Troub tonight could not possibly have any complaints about a highly entertaining evening of quality local music at a majorly cool venue.