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Live Review: Twin Haus w/ Baskervillain @ Woolly Mammoth

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Making the first crack in the experience that is Twin Haus’ ‘Nothing Lavish’ EP Tour, the Brisbane quartet, and respected masters of experimental genre hoping psych-rock, filled Fortitude Valley’s Woolly Mammoth Main Stage. They were preparing for an East Coast celebration of their highly anticipated and illustrated sophomore EP release, and we prepared for a performance of exploratative unknown.

Main support Baskervillian brought heat to ‘the Mammoth, combining elements of rock n’ roll, blues, and psych in a set that was the energy, diversity, and pretty groovy.  In the pleasure of seeing Baskervillian more then a handful of times, they’ve made it clear they’ll never fall into one sound, genre or feel – and that’s why we like ‘em. They drove a progression of guitars, drums, and synths into the influences of classic blues, gutsy rock, and Australian melody, with a selection of songs from their 2015 EP ‘Modern Lows’.

With lead guitarist and bass slayer harmonising on vocals and setting soar in the choruses of Dancing Shoes, which is a rock-heavy and riff filled crowd favourite, it was made patriotically sweet n’ sultry by harmonica. Not enough of us had time to chuck on our dancing shoes but we all made do as the boogie ensued. Walls had hips and heads shaking, combining a folk-rock vocal tone and a vocal range you’d liken to Robert Plant, the signature frantic riffs inciting guitargasms and an air-drum invoking beat that sent groove soaring up your spine. Baskervillain owned every song and impressed with their versatility, progressive experimentation and total groove. They’re definitely poster boys for Brisbane rock.

With the room warmed to heats of climate change  fast-forward 30 years, Twin Haus make stage. Illuminated by the dimmed lights above and scad of NASA-styled pedals and sound boards below,  the soft sooth of the electric guitar flutters for a little, then swiftly heaves us all head first  into the their fresh EP, beginning with 9 minute hypnotiser, Sythetic Egg. The guitar and bass battle effortlessly together climaxing the crowd to a point where you wouldn’t think anticipation could jump another level this early, until you get a saxophone and trumpet in the mix! Inciting a collective awe within the room, the twinkling furry of electric guitars, cymbal scattering and the baritone of lead vocalist Daniel Grima turning sedated falsetto, comparable to Radiohead’s Thom Yorke creates a timeless atmosphere as they welcome the crowd with their nonchalant, yet warm presence.

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Churning through a slew of songs from their back catalogue, Twin Haus’ older tracks were freshened by the presence of interchange between French horn and trumpet. Live, Twin Haus’ level of intensity and instrumentation progression hits you like waves, continuing to build and release. Those sonic waves reach incredible heights in tracks like Blood Tapes where between verses the crash is so strong that not one hair on your body, or the guy next to you, isn’t raised.

Constant jamming between songs made for Twin Haus’ set feel like a living entity; Stuttering, quickening, calming to a near end, only to hasten and abrasively tear you a new one, and repeat. Mid-set Salvia Dali, from EP ‘Waxen Myriad’, was a standout with the jazz saxophone adding a new dimension to an old favourite, heightened by Grima’s encompassing falsetto, while channeling deep bass and heavy guitar resonant of Foals in An Eye For an Eye.

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Feeling like no time had passed at all, the quartet closed with their 11 minute mischievous trip The Revue. The track is pretty much the definition of ‘down the rabbit hole’, the track started bright lifting the crowd, then it manually shifted gears a few minutes in as an uphill trek of strings, synths, and allure of the vocals gripped our ears, before the track launched into an all-out headbanging prog-surf trip…it was absolutely mind blowing and body shocking.

A performance and experience not to be expected by a group of super young ambitious musicians. Everyone walked out kind of dazed and confused as to what they just experienced,  but I didn’t see anyone questioning it. Twin Haus are absolute lords, thank you for an incredible performance!

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