The Getaway Plan + Gatherer + Freeds
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
16 May 2015
Review by Matt Doria
Photo by Joshua Concepcion
Cringeworthy awkwardness is something to be expected from open mic nights, talent shows, and that dude playing an acoustic cover set in the corner of your favourite coffee shop while you effortlessly try to scream your order over the top of him. One place you don’t expect to find that spine-tingling awkwardness, of course, is a top tier, you-paid-real-money-on-tickets-for-this level concert. But as Melbourne rapper Freeds started his opening set on this cold Friday night, that’s exactly what we were treated to.
I respect Freeds as an artist and somebody who is passionate about their craft, but it was difficult to find his performance tonight anything other than a sloppily executed Home Brand-esque Illy impersonation with none of the vivacity or free flowing composure. Freeds’ live drummer – ‘The Mask’ – boded well in his favour, adding a layer of groove and the only distinguishable feel of energy in the room; this was especially true when Freeds kicked off his cover of MIA’s ‘Paper Planes’, the intense drumming managing to bring the crowd onto their feet, and injecting some much needed life into Freeds’ rapidly decomposing stature. While his set tonight was little more than a trainwreck, I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to seeing Freeds perform live again, the next time in a more natural, suited environment.
After just enough time to recover from Freeds’ applaudably awkward set and hassle the bartenders for a tray or two of shots, the crowd was warmed and eager for the inundation of another act from the vast index of Melbourne’s local scene, this time in the form of alt-rock quartet Gatherer. Driven by deliciously funky basslines and drums so crisp they put Smiths to shame, Gatherer delivered the Newtown Social Club a tirelessly industrious set dripping with raw, fully hearted fortitude. Their inescapable groove had the better half of an enthusiastic crowd slinking around with their heads in a constant state of bobble, as the band themselves were entirely animated and bursting with liveliness. When it came to the music itself… Oh… Oh man.
Lengthy instrumental sections stood out, separating luminous bouts of tempestuous vocals with mind-bending moments of incandescently dynamic power. As cloudy and grievous as it all amounted to, Gatherer’s set maintained a surprising amount of bounciness. The tunes were explosive and wrought with heaviness, but, simultaneously light, dancing was undoubtedly an option. In its entirety, Gatherer’s performance was all to easy to lose yourself in. This scribe was rendered completely void of breath come the last few notes of ending song ‘High Fives’, and though ending the night here would certainly justify having purchased a ticket, we were still yet to experience the magic that is The Getaway Plan.
In a bid to amp us up for the impending July release of their new album ‘Dark Horses’, The Getaway Plan stormed the stage with a stripped back, but nonetheless astonishing presentation. Stylistically, the Melbourne four-piece sit somewhere between buttery pop-punk and gritty pseudo-hardcore. It shouldn’t work in any way whatsoever, but between the kinetic ambiguity of vocalist Matthew Wright and the impassioned prowess of lead guitarist Clint Owen Ellis, it does, and perfectly at that. Though they were considerably softer than Gatherer in exhibition, The Getaway Plan were unrivaled in aggression tonight, their entire hour-long conferral erupting with sprightliness.
Singing through a thick veil of hair, Wright powered through the set with an airy, almost effortless flair, while his bandmates ricocheted around the stage, pouring every last ounce of their potency into firing out a truly cataclysmic showcase. Bouncing between new jams and older classics, The Getaway Plan’s setlist brought due attention to both of their previously released records, and shined a much-welcomed spotlight on ‘Dark Horses’ – of which ‘Battleships’ was an easy highlight. An abandoned track from the new album, ‘Lost’ was played for the first, and possibly only time tonight, as Wright explained that the band have no interest in ever officially releasing the tune. The tune began soft before kicking into a mellow, yet fully attentive melody.
As I mentioned before, The Getaway Plan’s presentation was stripped down to a bare minimum. There was no light show, no projection and no elaborate setup – the music stood on its own, and did an amazing job in doing so. Though initially lifeless to the point where it was pointed out by the band themselves, the crowd quickly became an enthralled sea of transcendence at the hand of a seriously competent, wildly talented band. All in all, this was a night worth re-living over, and over, and over again.