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Live Review: Slum Sociable @ Black Bear Lodge, 28.11.2015


A tambourine doesn’t often come to mind when the subject of electronic jazz is broached, but in the case of Melbourne band Slum Sociable, eclecticism truly pays off. Hailing from the Victorian suburb Mordialloc, Slum Sociable is fronted by the talents of vocalist Miller Upchurch and guitarist Edward Quin. While the group initially gained ground through platforms such as Triple J Unearthed, their soulful provocatively calming jazz has successfully transformed a local Melbournian following into fans from all across Australia and beyond.

Sporting a plain grey tee and simple cap, Upchurch led his group onto Black Bear Lodge’s humble stage with minimal introductions, choosing instead to plunge into their opening number, Constantly Changing. A surprised audience was immediately hit by soulful melodies and crooning vocals that permeated through Saturday’s intimate venue. Evoking warm, ambient, and bouncy vibes, Slum Sociable’s setlist tastefully integrated each track in a manner that complemented the last whilst still bringing something new to the table.

As Upchurch skillfully maneuvered from Constantly Changing to Repossessium, the crowd began to make up for its thin numbers with boundless enthusiasm. Slum Sociable’s layered soul transfixed their audience in such a manner that seemed to abandon all forms of conscious doubt; Upchurch’s head banging, fluid hand movements, and occasional body rolls was mirrored by equal enthusiasm in the form of unrestrained and, dare I say, interpretive dance. Perhaps the highlight of the night was when an audience member reached up to grab Upchurch’s shirt to reveal his BONDS briefs, which was met with rapturous approval in the form of collective cheers and squealing from the ladies.

“This audience’s participation is unparalleled,” Upchurch approvingly reacted, tambourine in hand.


The night continued with progressive beats, deep synths, and reverberating hooks as drummer Ryan Beasley’s built waves behind Dylan Savage’s rippling bass lines while Upchurch and Quin seamlessly led the crowd from one track to the next. My favourite moment was A Hearing, a track that escaped their EP “TQ” whose synth arpeggio and reverberating riffs hit straight to your cranium without injuring you.

Slum Sociable concluded the night with the ever popular All Night, whilst Upchurch’s burning vocals were sung along by a fervent audience. With such an unequivocally perfect finish, I have no doubt that the next time Slum Sociable take the stage in Brisbane, they’ll be met with a much larger audience and venue.