LIVE: Abbe May, Mike Noga, Particles @ Newtown Social Club, Sydney, 17th Nov

Three bands, with three different ways to kill it

When half the band is made up of Skarlett off of Rackett, Particles were always going to set off some sparks of interest round these parts. When they show up for their third ever gig and bring it like a mix of – (praise be!) Hockey Dad and Queens Of The Stone Age, it’s like they’ve set fire to my face. The set starts off with some serious mood, rumbly and narked, but – remarkably for a new project – bakes in equal amounts of melodic and growly moments. This is unmistakably a guitar band, but the elements of techy bloops are fun, and keep us guessing despite the minimalist two-piece setup. Everything’s as taut as a drum, and the songs are fast to imprint – I think it’s the surprisingly delicate vocal on top of the controlled mayhem that does it for me. There’s a “new” one about halfway through whose title I miss – they’re all bloody new – and which stands out, and the opening two are fearsomely good fun. It’s “Tennis” that really jumps down the throat though, and on the basis of one listen I’m buying that damn thing when it comes out and filing it in between The Hard Aches and the new Japandroids record. And then the next person who tells me new music is better in Melbourne or wherever is going to get beaten to bits with it.

Mike Noga

After the loud of Particles, we get the QUIET of Mike Noga tonight, just him, a guitar, and a smattering of songs from his concept album based on an 18th-century play. Obviously.

I used to live in Scotland, and so would frequently see Scott off of Frightened Rabbit do his solo thing acoustically, and aye right I get deja vu here tonight. The accent’s different, and there’s less beard, but it’s the same experience – an artist who turns sad songs into quiet moments of joy, a pure product of the country it comes from, and connected to it through song. It’s miserable as all giddyup, but one of the most beautifully-carved, expertly crafted, and downright brilliant sets of acoustic storytelling awesomeness you’re likely to see. That, my friends, was a little bit special and I could have stood there and watched it until I crumbled into dust.

Abbe May

Abbe May, all-round badass and multi-faceted songwriting warrior, is baaaack, and kicking off her tour in Sydney. Opening gag “Hi, I’m Delta Goodrem” sets the tone for the sharp fangs that are bared throughout, and the soundtrack is as razor-edged as the attitude. There’s gleeful malevolence in the music – “T.R.O.U.B.L.E”, latest single “Doomsday Clock” and “Are We Flirting” all scream like passing jets between Big Pop and dirty anger, a celebration and a temper tantrum all at the same time. It’s captivating, but you still get the sense she’s both taking it very seriously and not at all, all at the same time. As the set goes on, her guitar gets shredded more and more, and by the end, we’re all spent. Crushing stuff.

FULL PHOTO GALLERIES

Abbe May

 

Mike Noga

 

Particles