LIVE: BRNCHS, Mabel, Matrick Jones @ Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, 29th Dec

So, it’s halfway between Xmas and New Year’s and everybody’s bored stupid because *no-one* plans for these days and it’s basically the only gig on tonight. Thank Santa it’s Matrick Jones opening up, then.

Despite some worrying ventures into funk, this is a huge tanker-full of fun. There’s Pulp, Wedding Present, Divine Comedy, and then the last one just lifts off the pad and takes the roof down, energetic and joyous. This band need a bigger stage – no, seriously, there’s seven of them (including FOUR guitarists) and they keep bumping into one another. But also, they deserve one.

See a full photo set of Matrick Jones here

With the name of a 60s English grandma, there’s really only one way that a band called Mabel can sound, and that’s like the best damn wedding band you’ll ever hear. There’s nothing here but polish and skill, showmanship coming out of all their parts, and enough tunes to start breaking the ankles off anyone daft enough wearing heels who tries to keep up. It’s batshit shiny – like a new car, you can see your face in this stuff.

See a full photo set of Mabel here

And so, then there were BRNCHS, on their debut no less. And what a debut it was.

For a start, it’s a Tuesday night, but everyone – and it is packed to the gills – has come out to dance. There are more Friday-night frocks in the place than in The Ivy on a Sunday afternoon. On top of that, they also seem to have brought their own light show, not to mention a barrowful of chat, some excellent moves that only electronic duos can pull off, and a set of tunes that rattle the teeth out of out our heads.

This is probably the point that I’m obliged to say CHVRCHES. BRNCHS. CHVRCHES. And so on.

And yes, there’s clearly a love-in going on here. But aside from the lack of women in the band – some female vox would honestly would have made it a bit more rounded – there’s more than enough tuuune moments to make us all not give too much of a hoot. The beats are meatier than your Xmas Turducken, the synths are low down and dirty, and for good measure – and to my personal glee – they even chuck in live guitars. For two people, it’s a show and a half, and they score extra craft points for the amount of work they’ve clearly put into making it a spectacle. Every cent well spent and no mistake.

Fun stuff – considering it was their first time (as well as their obvious influences) it was fvcking excellent.

See a full photo set of BRNCHS here