Thursday 20th December, 2012 – Review by Benjamin Arnold
On what seemed to be the balmiest Thursday night we’ve had this year, the pace of Northbridge’s Mustang Bar was to say the least, a bit slow. Apart from the usual barflies staggering around, everyone appeared to be hunkered down in their bunkers anticipating the Mayan apocalypse. This however didn’t deter Perth alt-rock juggernauts, MEZZANINE from delivering a blistering show, rounding off the last date of their Australian tour before they too hunkered down in the bunkers to record their debut album.
As people got stuck into their beers and chatted away, young live music veteran, TIMOTHY NELSON jumped up to take the mic. Performing without his band THE INFIDELS, the charismatic Nelson looked effortless and at home as he launched into an acoustic set of heartfelt ballads tinged with a country twang. Nelson even managed to exchange heckles with the crowd between what felt like a prolific amount of songs. Nelson’s vocal performance was flawless cutting right through the thick and noisy pub banter, as was his guitar finesse, plucking and strumming his way through some interesting arrangements proving he’s not just another singer songwriter. A highlight of the evening, Nelson rounded off the set with an almost comically angsty song ‘Born in the 90’s’, a friendly tongue in cheek Segue to the grunge onslaught that was to come.
Despite the small turn out, TRIGGER JACKETS did all they could to entice some of the patrons down to the front of stage for a bit of a dance. Opening with swirls of distorted feedback against a persistent bass line, the sonic landscapes were quickly replaced with strained screams and howls. Front-man Chris Simmons appeared at times to be sheepish and reserved, hiding behind the microphone, hair half in his eyes before trading it all in for loud scuzzed out bluesy-laden howls. By this point a very small handful of the patrons had gotten well into the silly season and moved closer to the stage to introduce some interpretive dance to the night’s entertainment. Trigger Jackets delivered up a fuzzy mess of hair and attitude, doing what they could with what they had to work with. It’s always hard to get into the swing of things when there’s no crowd to swing with.
Coming off a national tour the guys from Mezzanine looked more than a little fatigued. They shuffled their feet towards the tiny stage at The Mustang Bar and with relatively little people to play to – it appeared enthusiasm levels were down as well. This only worked in their favour. Drawing upon the 90s teen slacker image the guys got to work shaking their matted hair and snarling their way through a set list of loud tunes that all had at least one eye on 90’s alternative rock. The opening chords crashed around the room as the band quickly switched to a reverbed whine and wail accompanied by some soft hauntingly sweet vocals delivered through the black veil-like fringe of Cory John Rist. Again it wasn’t long before they found themselves using the soft heavy dynamic to pummel the bands own brand of 90s grunge rock into the inebriated brains of the audience. Just for good measure, Mezzanine paid tribute to the inventors of alternative rock; PIXIES, performing a true to the original cover of ‘Gouge Away’. Despite Mezzanine’s last ditch efforts to rouse a reaction from the crowd and get them to converge on the sticky dance floor, the dispersed crowd looked a lot more comfortable to quietly bop their heads behind their pints and just look on.