Unfamiliar Territory

It’s not that I don’t like going to gigs. I love and appreciate band music and I have great respect for musicians who can play acoustic instruments. Maybe I’m just jealous that I stopped practising guitar (and keyboard and clarinet), but live music gigs by local bands never seem to pull me in as much as a club night with a good local DJ would. So last weekend I decided it was time to broaden my horizons and go along to see Pseudo Mind Hive play at ‘Bar Open’ in Brunswick. Time to get out of my comfort zone.

If going deep into the Northside wasn’t foreign enough for me, I also went solo- something I never do. I don my best Pink Floyd tee (that way they’ll know I’m one of them), have a couple of beers with some friends to loosen up beforehand, and after failing to convince anyone to tag along, jump on a bus headed for the Wick (do people from Brunswick call it that? Probably not). I find the place fairly easily, grab a pint from the bar so I don’t look like a pleb, and head out to the nearly-empty smoker’s courtyard. Luckily, I had strategically planned to see a band of which I knew one of the guitarists- Mark Vincini, who’s in my course at uni. I hone in on him straight away, introduce myself to some of his friends, and started chatting. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a friendly face! A friend of a friend, Sam is here, who also happens to be Pseudo’s drummer! Mark, Sam and I laugh about how small the World is, they tell me I’ve chosen the worst gig to come and see (almost no one has turned up) and things are going great. Then- crisis!

Apparently, the band who is supposed to be playing before them were all kicked out as they were underage. Ha. So the boys have to head upstairs earlier to set up. They say their goodbyes, I say good luck, and I’m left on my lonesome. Instead of trying to awkwardly force myself into either of the two groups of friends chatting outside, I call a friend and talk to him about the situation I’m in so it doesn’t look like I’m alone. I stretch the conversation as far as it will go until I can no longer justify keeping him any longer, and I decide to head upstairs. The band sets up, the crowd (15 people) fill in and they start playing.

One issue I have at gigs is I don’t know what to do with my body. I’m definitely one for a good dance, but I can never figure out how to move with a live acoustic soundtrack. Luckily, no one was really dancing at all, more bobbing of heads and gentle swaying of the hips. That’s not to say they weren’t good though. PMH put on a fantastic psychedelic rock journey that I found really engaging and interesting to listen to. They were at times clean and precise, but would seamlessly become distorted, irregular and very, very loud. One aspect of live music I really have grown fond of is natural human error. A lot of electronic music can feel too mechanical and precise. PMH wasn’t perfect- sometimes the drumming is off, sometimes someone missed a note- that’s cool, it means someone is making music right in front of you. Their sound was exciting, lots of major tempo changes (another rare thing to see in a club) and nice, sparse vocals from the lead singer. I discovered it was actually quite nice being alone and just listening to music in a social setting. No friends to distract me, I was completely focussed on the performance. I stood next to a fireplace and watched them play for the entirety of their 40 minute set, said my goodbyes and compliments to Mark and Sam and headed off to see a friend DJ in the city.

Ok, so I didn’t make any new friends and it wasn’t some sort of life-changing experience. But I had a good time, and I think I left Bar Open with a deeper appreciation for band music and for the scene as a whole. Pseudo Mind Hive are having a single launch at The Tote on November the 2nd. Mark said that that was the one to go to. I reckon I just might.

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