With the heat sweltering outside, the cavernously empty interior of the HiFi Bar is soon brought down a few degrees by an icy blast of bracing post punk from local trio Terrible Truths. Bereft even of chords, the band’s stripped down sound is filled out with a twin vocal attack, busy drumming and brash attitudes. With the aesthetic of the Raincoats and the accurate simplicity and drive of Love of Diagrams, the band play as if they’re being chased, a fear of silence or slowing down drives every song. It’s a fantastic show and bodes well for future releases.
An equally excellent choice for support and also sounding as though they’re beamed in from 1981, NO ZU are the most kinetic band in town. Each member of the sextet plays accurate and simple motifs that spiral in and out of time in a captivating way, though songs are interchangeable they prove there are still variations on funk in 4/4 left unplayed. Songs often sound like uncontrolled breakdowns, in danger of getting lost but with a whip crack of timbale everything is brought together. This is what tightness looks like.
The buzz about ESG’s live-to-air at RRR yesterday has helped crank the atmosphere in the now-packed room from buoyant to excitably hyperactive. To the sound of Tom Tom Club’s Wordy Rappinghood the band walk out waving happily. ‘How you doin' Melbourne?’ grins singer Renee Scroggins over the near deafening cheers of the crowd, ‘this is a song called Dance’. With powerhouse drummer Valerie and percussionist Marie, the Scroggins’ are one of the most heard and least celebrated bands in history. The music itself is some of the simplest dance music ever released - drums, bass, percussion and minimalist vocals - yet it’s so effective it becomes instructive, and also explains why they were (and are) sampled so widely; they got it right.
Their classic and much-sampled UFO follows and includes the only use of guitar. Percussion drives the songs; dual tambourines, vibraslap and copious use of congas and cowbells are the only sounds to flesh out the massive bass and powerhouse drumming. Every introduction is met with deafening cheers, Time Shift, The Beat, I Feel Tonight and the almighty anthem to leaving bad relationships Closure, all cause such a burst of positivity amongst the crowd that this gig quickly becomes the happiest of all 300 plus gigs this reviewer has been to since writing for this publication. It’s phenomenal just how strong the effect of this music and the sight of these women playing it are. Further testaments to danceable simplicity follow My Love For You, You're No Good and Moody are dispatched with joyous precision. An encore of You Make No Sense elicits a brief stage invasion by dancers and the smiles on the faces of the band as they’re brought out for a second encore seal this as being one of the finest gigs in eons. All this and they didn’t even play their best song.