LIVE REVIEW: Underground Lovers & Silver Sircus @ The Zoo 25/05/2013

Where were you on Saturday night?  Because I was watching two incredible bands at Brisbane’s premier live music venue.  The Zoo only looked about half full, but the people who shared this experience with me were very lucky indeed.

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It’s hard to believe that a band who has hardly played together since last October can walk onstage and sound as good as Silver Sircus do.  The thing that immediately strikes you when Silver Sircus begin is that they sound like nothing else in Brisbane.  It’s also a refreshing change to come to a show and not need to wear earplugs to prevent hearing loss.  Silver Sircus play a dynamic set, with sparse percussion loops, cello, violin, piano, guitar & bass all allowing each other space to breathe, while Lucinda Shaw’s beautiful voice drenches the room.

Opening song ‘Kali’ is visually dominated by part-time percussionist Fi Ellwood, who plays the conga’s with a ferocity normally reserved for a full drumkit.  I’m informed that Silver Sircus have ditched most of their percussion loops tonight, which gives the songs a more fluid and organic sound than I’m used to hearing from them.  It’s probably the best the band have sounded in years.  An introductory drone gradually segues into the familiar cat claws of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus In Furs’ around halfway through their set.  They top it off with a stunning cello solo where you’d expect the guitars to be.

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Silver Sircus close their set with the gospel-tinged ‘Flesh Of My Flesh’.  I was honestly moved to the point of feeling like this could be my first religious experience.  Lucinda Shaw, arms aloft, lead a soaring choir of voices during the outro.  It simultaneously sent shivers down my spine, brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.

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The Underground Lovers are on fire tonight.  If you’re not familiar with them, they sound like Teenage Fanclub and Ride got together for a jam.  A number of younger Silver Sircus fans who were unfamiliar with them commented on how 90’s they sounded (ha!).  Their music sounds full without being cluttered, chimey guitars and dynamic drumming alternating between aural assaults and laid-back summer dreaming sounds with ease.

The set drew on both their extensive back-catalogue and their new album.  A series of Eastern-flavoured visuals accompanied the music and gave the night a warm, druggy vibe.  I was honestly too lost in the layers, textures and melodies of the songs to pick out any set highlights, and the punters dancing along for the entire set with their eyes closed told me I wasn’t alone.

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I saw Underground Lovers last year supporting Mark Gardener, but tonight they blew that performance away.  Anyone who proclaims themselves to be a fan of 90’s grunge, shoegaze or pop needs to see Underground Lovers live next time they come to Brisbane.

Get out and see some live music, you might be surprised where it takes you.

Words by: Clint Morrow
Photos by: Thomas Oliver

Useful Links:

Underground Lovers

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/UndergroundLovers

Silver Sircus

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/silversircus

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