Live Review: Stone Parade, Freestate, and Is it Her – The Gaelic (03.02.2012)

The Gaelic looks full when I enter but there’s a lot of room at the front, close to the stage. The crowd are hanging back through Sydney band Is It Her’s set which is disappointing, since this band are energetic and look like they’re having fun. Even their rocking cover of The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’ wasn’t enough to get everyone dancing, sadly only one person runs to the front.

Freestate are on next, and they make it clear from the start they’re a band that want to capture and keep a crowd’s attention. Lead singer Drew Kario is at the edge of the stage for most of the set and uses the space well, moving to stand with the bass player and guitarist during their solos.
They’re the loudest band of the night and incredibly passionate but the one thing they lack is contrast. To someone who doesn’t know their music well, each song sounds too similar to the one before. Technically they’re perfect together, but some experimenting with different song-writing styles could help them become more interesting.

Stone Parade launch into their first song and are tight from the start. Lead singer Greg Byrne urges people “Move down the front, there’s heaps of room!” but sadly, it’ll take more than that to move them. Even when Byrne tries to start a sing along, the crowd participation is disappointing. It’s no fault of the band’s though, it’s a shame people are too cool for a bit of fun.

The set goes smoothly, something that can be attributed to the sound quality at The Gaelic and the band’s clear love of performing. They look comfortable together, play with passion without it looking forced and move naturally around the stage.

Byrne uses a tambourine during the guitar solos, and since you can’t hear it, it appears to just be something for him to do. He grabs an acoustic guitar for a new song and warns us it’s the first time he’s played one live – an unnecessary warning, since there’s no sign of any nerves when he starts to play.

The band appeared on Sunrise on Sunday morning, Byrne wanted us to catch them performing ‘Mr Spaceman’, but I can say with confidence that not many people here would have gotten up that early.

They finish with crowd-pleaser ‘Somebody Will Miss You’ and have one more attempt at achieving crowd participation. They’re more successful at getting us to clap this time and we leave on a high, having watched a rocking Sydney band play a great set.

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Justine McNamara

I'm an Australian living in New York. I work in marketing but I write about music, New York, and my own personal experiences.

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