REVIEW: THE MURLOCS | NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB (SYD) | 9.4.15

(Photograph by Teresa Pham)

If you were to step into the Murloc’s gig at the Newtown Social Club last week, it would pretty much feel like you’d just jumped aboard one hell of an acid trip. Like a scene from Hunter. S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing, the walls were illuminated like a giant lava lamp with projections of swirling colours whilst ethereal warbling vocals reverberated to echoing, bluesy guitar and haunting howls of the harmonica. The Murloc’s psychedelic R&B set was an exhilarating cosmic journey from start to finish.

Support acts Los Tones and the Dandelion were the perfect prelude to the Murlocs, setting a soulful blues vibe with twangy guitars and the Dandelion’s organ. The Murlocs’ lead singer Ambrose Kenny-Smith rightly named them as two of the best garage acts to emerge from Australia, before beginning his own set that firmly confirmed his band’s own position alongside them in the leading ranks. The Murloc’s Adolescence tour celebrates the release of their new track Adolescence.

There’s always a lingering fear in the music industry that on record the singer is fine and dandy and can tweet a tune, but on stage they transform into your awkward drunken dad attempting karaoke. But thankfully not Kenny-Smith. Far from that. On stage his voice carried tunefully over the band; nasal and shrill like Janis Joplin, but gritty and raspy like a whiskey-drowned Bob Dylan. There is no doubt that it is his voice that defines the Murloc’s signature sound. 

Beginning with Space Cadets, from their last EP Loopholes, the band instantly amped up the atmosphere with tangy guitar, shrieks from the harmonica and heavy reverb. Their new track Adolescence was full of slow-swinging rhythm and thumping bass that had the audience swaying and clapping. To everyone's surprise, the band played an infectiously funky version of Hot Chocolate’s Everyone’s a Winner, which they had been “wanting to cover for a while”. The crowd loved it and everyone was writhing enthusiastically. The band was bursting with energy as projections of oozing lava cascaded across the backdrop and plunged the room into a warm red light. Like a debaucherous boudoir in a rouge hue the band and crowd partied the whole way through the set in raucous delight.

Their new EP is rumored to be released in June, and if it’s any bit as exciting as their live performance then we wait with eager anticipation. 

Written by Cosima Wood

PHOTO GALLERY
THE MURLOCS | NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB | 9.4.15
with special guests
The Dandelion & Los Tones

(Photographer - Teresa Pham)

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