PIAF - Spinning Top Presents (POND, AAA Aardvark Getdown Services, Felicity Groom and The Silents) - 23/02/14
Well, if you don’t know what/who/why Spinning Top is then I feel you have been failed by yourself. This little (but probably now larger) Fremantle based label has been quietly building a roster enviable by larger lamer labels. Stepping stone for the now huge Tame Impala, POND and great local talent like Felicity Groom and the ever evolving The Silents, they well and truly have their fingers on the pulse of our port city.
So, it was with great pleasure that I saw, on the release of the Perth International Arts Festival programme, Spinning Top Presents (POND, AAA Aardvark Getdown Services, Felicity Groom and The Silents). I must see this, and I did enjoy it thoroughly.
Anyway, I was a touch late, just in time for Felicity Groom’s soaring vocals and intricately crafted tunes. Felicity’s prowess at writing engaging songs is clearly evident, and a large crowd had gathered to hear some new cuts of her soon-to-be-released album Hungry Sky.
And then Avery and Parker, who were mingling in the crowd, left the audience to be become the entertainers. Billed mysteriously as AAA Aardvark Getdown Services and only revealed days earlier, those who were formally known as Kevin Spacey In An Elevator among other things were joined on stage by a guitarist and a synthesiser operator and basically did their thing. I would call it doomy disco funk, but that would be ignoring any number of possible influences and nuances one could make from their music.
Kevin Parker’s half drum pad/half live drums were mesmerizing, however the sounds sampled were a little too simple, hearing the exact same cymbal sound does give the songs a certain precise element, but the usual nature of these musicians is a little looser than that. His at times odd and erratic beats gave the songs a lot more than his other projects do. Cam Avery’s undeniable swagger bass was prevalent throughout every song, being pretty central to the collective’s sound, he played very deep, very groovy and occasionally muted bass lines for the entire, causing the crowd’s collective hip bones to gyrate. Such funk.
The way they operate was basically completely instrumental, with the odd pre-recorded Parker vocal line thrown into the mix to create an interesting disconnected feel, mixed in very light, taking a back seat to the music it was complementing. The guitar work was also fascinating, it seemed every solo break used very different effects, and the synth lines and organ sounds over the top of everything else created an aural spectacle very rare heard, hopefully they take the time to record this shit!
There was one AAA Aardvark Getdown Services song which sounded suspiciously akin to a certain Justin Timberlake jam, ‘Sexy Back’, which just about sums up what they are about.
POND ensued. Anyone who has seen POND before, and we have, knows Nick Albrook is a loose, loose cannon. He seemed to hold it together a little more on this occasion, maybe the enormous presence of friends and family influenced him to not fling himself around so much. Inter-song banter was pretty much just them seeing people in the crowd and saying hi, before Gum told the ladies on the couch Shiny Joe wrote the next song to make people want to marry him, Joe quick to point out “I think that’s actually my mum on that couch”.
Anyway, the six-legged band dwelled very much in the not so distant past, drawing mainly from Hobo Rocket, Beards, Wives, Denim and a few newer cuts like ‘Colouring The Streets’ from the Spirit of Akasha soundtrack and an as far as I know unnamed track featuring Shiny Joe front and centre.
Gum, donning a silver jacket garnered the punters' attention, with extravagant stage moves suiting POND's heavier, riffier moments. As always, musically, the band were tight, and the shared vocal lines give the tracks another dimension live. POND, as has become the trend lately, closed with 'Midnight Mass', a song which sees the culmination of POND's talents thus far.
Spinning Top, look at what you have created!