Live Review: Major Leagues @ Shebeen Bandroom
The mood in Shebeen’s compact gig room was understandably blue, the majority of this discontent being exuded from the front of the house. But of course the young Brisbane quartet Major Leagues would be feeling the brunt of concluding their well-received (and well-documented, for that matter) tour with the equally exciting Sydney outfit Flowertruck. Low-brow jadedness has long been the catch-cry of the 90s indie rocker, and given as Major Leagues borrows so heavily from that much-celebrated zeitgeist (Pavement and The Breeders immediately spring to mind) of course their show had to go on in all of its apathetic and diffident glory.
That being said, any newcomer to this most compelling of indie pop outfits would agree the energy could have not been more satisfying. Raymond Carver was a definite crowd-pleaser early on, followed by Someone Sometime, which is unarguably Major League’s most moreish earworm. Despite a set noticeably littered with numbers from the band’s most recent EP release ‘Dream States’, the rule of “newbies-first, classics-last” didn’t necessarily apply here. The modest crowd was more than happy to succumb to the sharp strumming and surfy plucks which had speedily anointed the room, regardless of what year and in which order they were pressed to vinyl.
“Their technical prowess and cohesiveness as an astute group of musicians truly makes them a special act to witness in-person.”
Better Off, in all of its summery gaiety, certainly garnered a positive response from the surprisingly up-and-about Melbourne crowd, and was certainly a personal favourite. But when the band strummed their way through Silver Tides they seemed to be operating on a directly conversational, even self-commentative level. With the noticeably blunt lyrics, “We swam all night/ till we got tired” or “We got high/ then took a ride”, there seemed to be something so painfully simplistic and basic that it seemed to play straight to the collective sentimentalities of the predominantly millennial crowd.
It seems to be the recurrent shortfall of far too many Aussie Indie bands as of late, to play indie pop with breezy-strumming and completely permeable lyrics which cause the listener no great deal of difficulty, but a great deal of mindless responsiveness. Perhaps I’ve been living in Melbourne so long that I can no longer tell the functional differences between my mouth and my backside, but a couple of times throughout Major Leagues’ set I felt as though I had just heard the same song back-to-back (listen to Get Lost and chase it with Teen Mums and you’ll get my gist).
It’s great to see a young band with so little to lose and a whole lot to gain giving their all to a completely fervent out-of-town crowd, but if there’s one limitation to Major League’s potential to be a truly captivating outfit, it’s the lack of diversity and endeavour in their young catalogue.
“…fringes may become the new measuring stick for an indie scene pioneered by this exciting Brisbane outfit.”
But if I am to be completely honest, this is about the only limitation I can attribute to this band. Their technical prowess and cohesiveness as an astute group of musicians truly makes them a special act to witness in-person. Fan favourite Endless Drain was an expected and certainly welcomed highlight of the evening, but not so much as the complete curveball of a jam session the group partook in towards the end.
All of a sudden Jaimee and Anna were scratching their respective gits half to death whilst Jake, arguably the most unsuspecting member of the group, hammered away at his tubs, so much so that I actually began to worry for the safety of the inanimate mound of plastic and aluminium (just thought you should know, they were fine).
Come night’s end the band’s blueness had been supplanted by a noticeable satisfaction, a usually jaded Melbourne crowd had just gone batsh*t for them in an underground gig space you’d usually need an infrared radar to have some chance of locating. Still operating on the fringes of a now widely acknowledged indie scene, Major Leagues still have a lot to aim for. But should their accessibility finally give way to their potential for erudite and layered song writing, and they showed plenty of it last Saturday night, the fringes may become the new measuring stick for an indie scene pioneered by this exciting Brisbane outfit.
Read our review of Major Leagues’ latest EP ‘Dream States’ HERE