Live Review: WALKEN & Muddy Chanter w/The Bear Hunt, Electric Zebra, & Columbia Buffet @ The Bearded Lady
The longhaired best buds of WALKEN and Muddy Chanter kicked off their ‘Keepin’ It Flacid’ tour last Saturday night in their hometown Brisvegas. In true bro-down fashion the night was a manifestation of excited conversation, flowing drinks, and a 5-band line up of heavy tunes.
Columbia Buffet kicked off before most of us had even made it past the entrance to the small band room. The 4-piece rock outfit were a punchy blend of punk pop tones and 90s indie rock, but the overall sound was tainted by an onslaught of distortion and hard to hear vocals. The set was also stifled by a lack of energy from the band.
“When Muddy Chanter finally came on stage the crowd was a sweaty sardine can of black threads, tattooed skin, and excited anticipation.”
Electric Zebra fared a little better. Their vibrant brand of grunge rock came with an electronic vibraphone and a quirky repertoire of songs covering Demi Lovato, Danny DeVito, and a Mexican dancer named Penny. The tuning of guitars and adjusting of amps didn’t go unnoticed, but the set was remedied with compelling guitar riffs, rich ambiance, and impressive vocals ranging from clean melodies to scream inflections.
When Muddy Chanter finally came on stage the crowd was a sweaty sardine can of black threads, tattooed skin, and excited anticipation. Cheers were mostly aimed at lead singer BJ who was wearing a Junkyard Diamonds tee, a backwards cap, and carried a loud energy parallel to the other members as they dived right into their unique brand of honey alternative rock.
After two upbeat songs the boys slowed things down with Interview, one of the tracks off their self-titled EP. The ambience it creates makes you feel like you’re walking through sludge disorientated, but in a good way (if there is such a thing). The foggy quality is pierced with a staccato guitar riff in the chorus followed by falsetto “oohs” and chest voice “woahs” – It’s quite a compelling piece of music!
The boys showed off some surprise muscial diversity with one song featuring an Arabic-style guitar, and in another a reggae groove transitioned into a double time rock beat. The boys also put their hair-whipping skills to good use during Wandering, with the lazy upbeat guitar riff punctuated by a hilarious bobble head imitation courtesy of bassist, Math Jay.
“…the vigorous, dirty quality of the riffing against the imperfect symmetry of the counter melodies were a true testament to the group’s talent.”
When The Bear Hunt came on stage BJ and Matt (part of the WALKEN trio) got a much-deserved break. What wasn’t cool was the measly half-hour set Muddy Chanter was given compared to the 45 minutes of The Bear Hunt. Despite the annoyance, it was awesome to see a girl band (+ 1 guy) gunning it out in true stoner style rock. Like the supporting bands beforehand, the distortion of the guitars overpowered the vocals, but the vigorous, dirty quality of the riffing against the imperfect symmetry of the counter melodies were a true testament to the group’s talent.
By the time WALKEN hit the stage at least one third of the crowd had unfortunately left. The night was a mix of impatience and good music, but now this party had finally reaching its climax and the trio were ready and waiting. BJ (now on the drums) was shirtless, sticks in the air, and guitarist Patrick had unleashed his dreads ready for hair whipping. The boys smashed right into their headbanging, punk anthem of a new single Eagle Eye. This started a cataclysmic effect on the first two rows of the longhaired gentlemen who moshed with purpose.
Lead singer Matt Jamez proved he was quite the talented rapper during three consecutive Beastie Boys style songs including the bass driven, hip-hop heavy House On A Hill. The boys finished on their two biggest hits Even If It Kills Me and The Great Noise, but the energy onstage was superseded by the rowdiness of the moshers who decided to try their hand at some impromptu, one-person crowd surfing (they were semi successful). The rest of us were watching their antics while singing at the top of our lungs until the very end.
Overall it was a fun night filled with just a taste of the talented bands Brisbane’s rock scene has to offer. If I had to offer a suggestion though I would want a longer dose of Muddy Chanter. They were definitely the highlight of my night!