Live Review: Milk! Records ‘Good For You’ @ The Vic
Milk! Records current tour and label showcase ‘Good For You’ blows the pretentious preconceptions of the fan to artist barrier out of the water. Courtney Barnett and the rest of her label tore down the fourth wall at Vic on The Park in Marrickville and redefined the concept of a gig. The stage was cluttered with two drumsets, microphones, numerous leads, pedals, and rugs. It was like your best friends rocking out on stage in a completely disorganised yet perfect way.
Running late meant that punters who had come for free did not have to endure the unforgiving sun for too long. First out of the makeshift backstage tent were The Finks, a Melbourne collective built on the writing of lead singer Oliver Mestitz. After admitting to playing the wrong chords and singing the wrong lyrics, the crowd was in love with their easy simple style as they huddled in the shade. Most of the mosh did not know who was on stage at any given time, partly due to the fluid nature of the show and also, it was free.
“Looking a bit worse for wear, and breaking his no sunglasses or shorts rule, he practically forced us into jamming with his band that was up next.”
Six hours prior, East Brunswick All Girls Choir frontman Marcus Hobbs was vomiting bile in a hostel sink somewhere. Looking a bit worse for wear, and breaking his no sunglasses or shorts rule, he practically forced us into jamming with his band that was up next. Midway through rocking, Hobbs invited Dave Mudie to join drummer Jen Sholakis for a heart pumping double drums performance of Essendon 1986. Mudie and Sholakis smiled and watched each other’s drumming, probably not sure if they were going to nail it. But they did, and I can’t blame their shared grins at the almost perfect synchronicity. This continued through Dirty Bird, with Muse style vocals and crazy layered riffs, the sweet bass got newly converted fans swaying as the crew continued to rock our souls.
There was never a quiet moment. A feedback loop and simple beat served as an intermission while next band Ouch My Face tuned and prepped. Despite electrical issues (a faulty lead solved by Hobbs mid set), the light punk band lead by Celeste Potter was a brilliant dynamic to throw into the bunch. The crowd was clearly not used to the abrasive style shouting of Eye and Do The Wrong Thing, which shook up the previous genres. The genius catchy tune Creep Heart was a favourite with unsettling lyrics and sheer energy from all involved. Barnett sheepishly surfaced to join Potter for the vocals of Now demanding pancakes, a hot bod, valium, and everything. Obscena Misdemeanor pumped crazy bass lines through everyone, some vested man in the crowd threw his hands up to the sky like it was an exorcism.
Although it didn’t reach capacity the afternoon was a successful one, with the doors of the Vic being opened for any passerby. After a short intermission we were treated to the sweet combo of Andrew ‘Bones’ Sloane, Courtney Barnett on electric guitar, and Jen Sholakis, joining artist Jen Cloher to perform David Bowie Eyes and Mount Beauty from her album ‘In Blood Memory’. Slide guitar and melodic strumming built this set, truly magical in combination with the Cloher dubbed “rock wind” that flew through the crowd. Messy disheveled hair linked every musician, refreshingly there was nothing unique about this rough aesthetic, coming across both casual and inclusive. Showcasing the new compilation album Fraser A Gorman then duo-ed with Cloher who both shared their infectious energy for a climactic rendition of Stone Age Brain.
After a near tent catastrophe was saved with some serious duct tape skills, Gorman declared the sun had “chilled the fuck out”. Guided by Gorman the group’s vibe transformed into an alternative chill out session swaying to Shiny Gun and Skyscraper Skyline Blues. The indie harmonics were cute as and we felt the love. Gorman surprised us with his comedic storytelling banter, which was only thing lacking thus far in this entire show. Book Of Love was fantastic, with Barnett supporting on slide guitar, and the replaced lyrics, “I’d like to thank her for all the sausage rolls so let’s go”.
Dead Fox signaled the shift to Courtney Barnett’s repertoire. With a squeeze on Barnett’s shoulder, Gorman left the stage, and Barnett took over with her classic apathetic presence, coming across nothing short of badass. Overheard comments during this set include, “This is better than Spotify” and “I thought I heard someone doing a cover of Courtney Barnett, and then I came along, and it was Courtney Barnett”. The left over trio opened with Elevator Operator prepping us for the head banging finish. The mosh finally knew some lyrics and chanted to Pickles from the Jar, Pedestrian At Best, and Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party.
The entire lineup then collected onto the stage for the last hurrah, a homage to the late David Bowie, singing Suffragette City and a fantastic cover of Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl. A field day for any grungy inner city hipster, the Milk! Records’ ‘Good For You’ showcase was mash of pure goodness. At points it was impossible to keep up with the artist changeover and many songs went without introduction, but arguably that added to the organic moment we were witnessing. With smiles, casual banter, and dirty fingernails, the label and the crowd were all just good mates crowding around to hear a garage band practice. Sorry if you missed out.
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