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Comets on Fire + Grey Daturas + My Disco
The Corner, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA, 8.3.07

Ladies and gentlemen! It's Fender Jaguar showcase night at The Corner!

First up we have Ben Andrews of My Disco, sporting a scuffed, upside-down sunburst number. He slashes and hacks at the strings to make the Jaguar yelp, while his brother Liam sends out seismic shockwaves of bulbous bass, a tone that's been fed through not one but two amplifier heads in order to make your heart jump from your rib cage and lodge in your throat. Centre stage, Rohan Rebeiro nails it all down with funky, scattershot beats. Essentially, My Disco are a three-piece rhythm section, with Liam's vocals another rhythmic element in the mix, barking out nonsense like "This is an egg of sound!" Like Gang of Four on bad drugs, My Disco make a brutal, pummelling hybrid of industrial and disco, and for half an hour it's really bloody thrilling.

Next up in the Jaguar showcase we have a lovely sunburst number, made to scream and shriek by Bonnie Mercer of the Grey Daturas. Her bandmates Robert Mayson and Robert Macmanus play bass and second guitar to start the set with a cloud of feedback, before one of the Roberts switches to drums. And on it goes, roaring, whining, fizzing... boring. I went outside to get some fresh air. Sorry, Grey Daturas.

Finally, we have Ethan Miller of Comets on Fire playing a lovely baby blue Jaguar. And boy can these guys play. Suddenly the two support bands make a whole lot more sense as Comets kick off, pairing the needle-in-the-red noise of the Grey Daturas with My Disco's rhythmic pulse. And then turning everything up to ten. With songs. Miller's guitar and vocal is combined with Ben Chasny's stinging leads and Noel Harmonson's echoplex, and the whole typhoon of molten squall is dragged almost earthward by Ben Flashman's bass and Utrillo Kushner's wild drumming. It's totally fucking full-on.

If you don't know any of the songs, you'd imagine that they were just jamming for an hour. But amidst the loopy, screaming solos and wild rhythmic spack outs, there are some surging anthems singing through. And they're clearly having a ball. Every single member of the band goes absolutely nuts. Miller is grinning from ear to ear behind his huge moustache, screaming into the mic like he's summoning the souls of the dead from the blue-black abyss. Chasny throws some surprisingly wild and abandoned rock god shapes with his SG for a man who is perhaps more familiar for his subdued drone moniker Six Organs of Admittance. Stage right, Harmonson teases wild, jabbering noise out of his effects units while headbanging like a metalhead. Centre, just about holding the whole thing together, Flashman and Kushner pound and churn.

They roar through about ten songs, most of which can be found on their two excellent Sub Pop albums Blue Cathedral and Avatar. For the first half-dozen or so, including the awesome "Jaybird", the performance is giddily thrilling. Then, after about half an hour, my ears were sorely missing the songs from the albums that toned down the chaos a little, like the luscious instrumental cuts from Blue Cathedral, or the slower, bluesier numbers from Avatar.

But it was not to be. I had to retreat into the night nursing a pair of ringing ears, glowing from the buzz of witnessing an evening of full-octane rock, but disappointed there was no some respite from the relentless, sludgy surge.

Copyright © 2007 Tim Clarke e-mail address

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