Mother’s Cake @ the Basement 25/02/17 (Live Review)
The Basement is a curious little den located in a quiet Canberra street in an out of the way part of town. That said its stages have been home to some great acts big and small, local and international.
Tonight their back room plays host to the likes of Mothers Cake, a band the internet says hail from Austria but who singer Yves Krismer says come all the way from Hungary. Either way their sound is comparable to nothing. At a pinch you might say it was heavy psychedelic funk, but its a hundred other things at the same time.
Before the ‘Cake hit the stage the night is opened by local act Renegade Peacock. They’re a three piece act defined by strong, sweet vocals and the impossibly rich tone coming out of the lead’s telecaster. Its like a kind of heavy melodic pub rock, and its good. The frontman vocalist has a real presence and they’re a band to watch.
Following up were another local act named Tundrel lead by a diminutive bloke who looked like he should be wandering the mountain tops with a staff and a pocket full of magic potion. Their sound is deeply psychedelic, with its roots ranging from Floyd to Zepplin and maybe even some kind of 13th Floor Elevators vibe. Its given depth by the presence of a 5 string bass being judiciously fingered and lead breaks that blew the fucking room open. I’ve been around Canberra’s live scene for a while and can’t fathom how I’ve somehow missed these guys. Unfortunately they’d sold out of their album but if you get a chance check it out if only to hear what Nathan Rowlands can do with 6 electric strings.
Third up were Melbourne act AlithiA. Theirs is a sound reminiscent of the music of the early 2000s. Something that might at some stage have been referred to as Nu Metal, or maybe post-metal but with a slicker, more polished feel. Their stage presence is super energetic and they could certainly not be accused of not giving it their all. Its probably a little glossy for my tastes, but the crowd were absolutely glued to it.
By the time Mothers Cake hit the stage the room was primed. From the first track in heads were bobbing, asses were shaking and the crowd was buzzing. Their stage play is understated in a typically European way, as if somehow they just accept that its their job to be this fucking good.
The strange thing about them musically is that the songs seem to follow no conventional structure. Many of them seem to have started without anything resembling an introduction; it feels like you walked in to the room halfway through. Similarly you get the sense that the songs finish where they do because they have to finish somewhere and that they could just have easily wound their way through another hour or so if permitted.
A technical issue arises which gives the rhythm section time to show off their chops, which they do with distinction. They noodle around a bit and keep the feeling of the room flowing but eventually whatever the issue is threatens to derail proceedings until AlitihA frontman steps in and plays hype man til the problem is solved. It was a well placed well timed act and it saved the show. It deonatrates how well bands are willing to work with and off each other when things get messy.
Anyway, eventually things get back on track and Mothers Cake finish the show, if anything more determined to show their skills, which they do in spades. If their musicality was ever in question, which it wasn’t but anyway, their guitarist put it to rest with a couple of bluesier moments towards the end of the show which made it seem like you could see heaven from his fingers.
All told it was a killer show with a bunch of bands who all brought something completely different to the table and slayed one after the other.
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- Benjamin Smith
AMNPLIFY – KM