LOVE LIKE VIOLENCE – Amplifier Bar - Saturday, April 15, 2006

Love Like Violence took a small detour from its regular local scheduling on this occasion to accommodate The Pharaohs as they toured the country. Those of you who are thinking you've seen that name before are right, given the hundreds of bands that have been called The Pharaohs over the years, so to clarify let's just say there was no rockin' pneumonia or Warsaw express from this particular group of dead Egyptian kings, but a whole lotta homegrown guitar noise. Noise seemed to be the theme of this edition of Love Like Violence, and while it's safe to say that most bands fell under the blanket genre of indie… limp-wristed shoegazers they were not.

Opening act the Painkillers were actually one of the more raucous bands of the night, in spite of them being armed only with a drum kit and a semi-acoustic guitar. With historic Perth music figure James Baker on drums, and songs that felt like an angry Bob Dylan had played some role in their writing, the Painkillers were about punk rock simplicity with a twist. Even the bereft-of-band Billy Bragg years had nothing on the directness of the Painkillers, with one song in particular (about a girl of course) coming across like it was being sung straight into the face of its ode. The lack of bottom end in the Painkillers' two piece ensemble was certainly detrimental in an environment such as Amplifier, but one imagines a venue such as the Hydey would help fill out the band's sound. That aside, the Painkillers' somewhat ragged emotional attack is as much filled with the spirit of the blues as punk rock, and the combination does well to hold an audience's attention.

Radarmaker's instrument swapping also makes for a fascinating watch, with just about every member of the band adept at each instrument the group employs. Swapping after every song slows things down far too much for there to be a sense of continuity in the set, but perhaps that's the aim. When the band are constructed so as to have the demure Wendy strumming and singing they are at their best. These are the moments when the eerie, haunting songs come out, and their potency is far greater than the more boisterous numbers. The trade off that results from the constant swapping is variety-for-commonality, and although Radarmaker have too many different approaches for them to have a signature sound, variety is seldom a bad thing. Especially live. Perhaps lining up all of the songs of each particular member arrangement could prevent the set from fragmenting the way it does, or maybe a bit of audience patience is needed. Either way, Radarkmaker's approach is principally sound, and shows off some keen musicianship and ever-important creativity.

Having seen The Fault roughly once every couple of months since they began, it can be stated with absolute confidence that the band have improved dramatically as their schedule has become more and more gig-heavy. Where once a sheepish band filled the stage, somewhat unsure of themselves, The Fault now know exactly what they are doing, and deliver it with gusto. Their use of varied instruments provides a fat sound that is cleverly layered to avoid muddling, and when they hit the point of unison, The Fault can really cook. There's not much a band can't do when everyone is on the same page, and irrespective of whether or not The Fault's style is to your particular tastes, their group dynamic and delivery is very impressive. If their current rate of progress is anything to go on, The Fault are set to become one of Perth's most promising acts.

Group dynamics are something The Wednesday Society are also very much masters of, and be it the smiles they flash at one another, or the momentary glimpses of the members getting lost in their own music, the band is shit hot. The quirkiness that The Wednesday Society throw into their music seems neither contrived nor forced, and is quite possibly the band's way of amusing themselves. This transfers well to a listener, because the 'quirk' is the band's mark of personality and sense of humour, rather than an attempt to impress one and all with outlandishness for its own sake. There is a solid backbone to The Wednesday Society as well, and no matter how idiosyncratic songs can get, the underlying factor in their music is its ability to hit the ground running, and rock without remittance. Goodness.

Headliners, and interstate guests, The Pharaohs were also very akin to rockin' from start to finish, and definitely exceeded many people's expectations. If one uses the 'indie' tag, then it has to be explained that The Pharaohs definitely push the sleepy connotations of the genre out of the window. With what seemed to be a wall of guitar (think Eleventh He Reaches London perhaps) and interlaced vocals, The Pharaohs' momentum seldom broke for the entirety of their set. Having never heard the band before it's a little difficult to know whether or not there were any good songs underneath the barrage, simply because everything was new to the ol' ears, but in terms of energy alone the band would definitely be worth a second look. Much like the local acts that played before them, The Pharaohs were generous in terms of how much personality they threw into their set, winning over the crowd (who also would have been unfamiliar with the music to varying degrees) with good old fashioned stage presence and charisma. While this may not sound all that important, how a band personally connects with their audience is usually a tell-tale sign of how well their music connects, and with little to go on in the latter department other than one set, a little bit of assumption is somewhat necessary. At the very least the band left the stage having created even more intrigue than they had started with, and certainly fit in perfectly with a bunch of local bands who appear to be of a similar way of thinking.