Live Review: Homeshake @ The Brightside
It was always going to be difficult for Peter Sagar to break new ground and come into his own amidst a daunting backdrop of high expectations stemming from his involvement with Mac Demarco as his ex-guitarist. The guitar sound of Homeshake differs little from the rough-around-the-edges jangle of Demarco. The appearance of Homeshake as loveable, scallywag youths is also indistinguishable, practically necessitating comparison. Even so, by putting the sound and image of Demarco through a blender of woozy synth and RnB, Sagar has managed to create an entirely different and equally memorable sound and live show that uses Demarco’s style as a springboard as opposed to being defined by it.
“Donny Love and Good Boy were good choices for supports…they’re emerging acts that flirt with a variety of sounds from psychedelia and surf rock for Donny Love, to indie guitar driven slacker rock for Good Boy.”
Homeshake’s growing success is evident at the near sold out Thursday evening gig, likely resulting from a combination of circumstances; Sagar’s association with garage hero Mac Demarco, the reasonable ticket prices and of course, the band’s actual talent, which is undeniable by the end of the set. Things were relatively quiet for Donny Love, the first support act of the night, but by the time Good Boy took the stage the venue was packed out. Both Donny Love and Good Boy were good choices for supports as emerging they’re acts that flirt with a variety of sounds, from psychedelia and surf rock for Donny Love, to indie guitar driven slacker rock for Good Boy.
Donny Love warm things up nicely with a short but sweet set of sun-kissed garage tunes that at times suffers from feeling a little too nostalgic for Nugget era 60s rock. While Donny Love boast a colourful, vibrant take on garage, Good Boy stray into more melancholic and gritty territory, but are always loveably sleazy. The band take full ownership of their all-Australian blokey image with clearly accented vocals that at times verges on parody. Luckily, Good Boy’s songs are stellar enough to bypass the somewhat juvenile, self-conscious elements of their shtick. The band’s guitar playing is top-notch, demonstrating some true musicianship lurking beneath a veneer of down to earth garage.
When Homeshake start their set with I Don’t Wanna, it’s impossible to not make comparisons to Mac Demarco with the guitar sound even more prominent in the live setting, but also sounding better than ever. Homeshake’s guitar riffs reflect the languidness of Demarco’s tunes, but are even more protracted. Homeshake fully take advantage of the underlying groove implicit in Demarco’s music and transform into an entirely new sound. Added to the mix are synth backing tracks that lull you into a bouncy reverie, notably on early set-number Heat. In addition to a glossy sheen of synth, Homeshake’s sound is also defined by Sagar’s distinctive vocals. In contrast to Demarco’s masculine crooner voice, Sagar’s voice is delicate and soulful with incredible moments of falsetto on Faded.
As with Goody Boy, Homeshake’s technical finesse is hidden beneath the group’s visual nods to 90s slacker and grunge with baggy t-shirts and baseball caps. Luckily the live setting allowed the band’s talents to flourish, proving Homeshake have plenty of substance to match the style. The live setting allows one to really appreciate the strength of every member of the band, with Sagar’s jangly guitar riffs sounding notably more pronounced and vivid. The best moments of Homeshake’s set prove to be the lengthy sections dedicated to jamming that nicely display the band’s comradery and excellent musicianship. Homeshake’s tunes also sound great played back to back, with the transitions between songs being somewhat ambiguous at times, which gave the feeling of been swept up in some kind of beautiful, garage, 90s, RnB hybrid dreamscape that is Homeshake.
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