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Live review, Music, Review

REVIEW: The Slow Push + The City Lights

BRADY CLARKE heads to a certain Upper Roma St venue to see some loud Sydney rock & roll and local indie-postpunk.

Beetle Bar, Saturday September 22

We missed Babaganouj, but interviewed frontman Charles Sale briefly at the show. He reckoned it went all right. He looks pretty reliable, so we’re taking his word for it.

The City Lights invite the dancefloor in with a four-on-the-floor-tom Kaiser Chiefs beat and howling guitars. Brothers James and Harry Roden feature in the three-piece, down from the revolving-door collective City Lights of a few years ago. Obvious flashes of You Am I and Buzzcocks in their well-executed, no-nonsense, punk-edged three-chords-and-the-truth gems make this faith-restoring stuff. The Keith Moon soundalike pounding the skins keeps the dancers going right through a couple of bum notes and false starts — James can’t see his guitar for the lights, yet the show stays together, a glory of dirty rock bliss that drips sweat over the Beetle Bar’s floor.

The Slow Push explode in a cavalcade of claps, Liars rhythms and impassioned vocals that teeter between breathless impatience and screaming impetulance. Apart from the imposing frontman Chris Hetherington, the lineup has completely changed since Overachievers days: the synths are gone, and the manic Meagan-Chanel McKewen now features prominently on vocals and sampler.

Sonically, the five-piece distil a number of noughties indie touchstones in their own blend — juxtaposing taut guitars, sampled screams, glockenspiel, a safety whistle and whatever — to the standers-and-nodders in the crowd. Perhaps that’s the issue. Recent singles Lions and Maybe You’re A Myth from the new album Misshapen Giants stand out a little, but the collage of faxed-and-scanned sounds falls flat live despite their obvious energy and enthusiasm. TSP are not aiming to make many friends with their tweemo post-punk, but with such a diverse palette on hand, they could do more to be interesting.

BRADY CLARKE is a Brisbane-based bebearded bassist, raconteur, absurdist and decanter of yarns, clearly competent at compiling clever linguistic abstractions resplendent in knowledge and ephemera.



Media & comms pro who works in mysterious ways. Writer, vinyl enthusiast, sort-of cineaste, history and geopolitics nerd and (nearly) reformed muso. Has a soft spot for hyphens and slashes. Will chew off your ear about obscure music, random facts and world football.


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