Clove: “Sober” Launch Show @ Last Chance Rock And Roll Bar, Melbourne

Melbourne’s Clove have been one of my personal favourite bands that I’ve discovered this year. Their alt-rock/punk sound is quite unique, and the intensity they bring to their live shows is a treat, so naturally when they announced the launch show for their latest single, “Sober”, I was keen to get myself there. Walking into the Last Chance Rock And Roll Bar I could tell immediately I wasn’t the only one. Everyone excitedly chatting, beers in hands and ready to go. This was going to be good fun.

Opening up were Bitter Lakes. Playing some punk rock type music and describing themselves as “emo”, I really enjoyed their sound. Groovy riffs aplenty, they kept my toes tapping and hips moving as their intensely passionate stage presence positively set the mood for the night’s proceedings. The crowd was still rather small at this stage, but the cool quaint room suited them perfectly, and they adapted to it and made it their own. Bitter Lakes are still fairly new as a band, but showed promise as they continued to roll through the set, playing consistently tight instrumentally. The vocals were very smooth, as the guitar equipped front-man multi-tasked fluently, and played with precision flawlessly as he led the band through the set. Bitter Lakes have a really cool sound, and a strong live presence, and I’m excited to see them again.

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Next up was World Sick. Very instrumentally focused and moody, their awesome alternative sound made me a fan. Little talking between songs, and the room beginning to fill, set for an impressively intense atmosphere. The crowd swayed in appreciation at the constantly climactic experience that World Sick were putting on, and it was awesome to watch. There were very little breaks between songs, and a lot of it seemed like one big continuous performance of the one song, which was unique and interesting, and a part of what kept the mood going strongly.

The small amount of vocals that did occur were enjoyable, although the singer seemed to lack confidence a little bit. He shouldn’t, because him and the rest of World Sick clearly have immense musical talent. The drummer was especially impressive, and was sporting a huge grin for pretty much the whole set. Their music reminded me of a movie soundtrack at times. It rose, it fell, and it felt dramatic, like a whole story could be told with this music setting the tone in the background. I was a huge fan of World Sick, and am definitely going to spend a some time in the future listening to them.

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After that was Madura Green, who had travelled all the way from Adelaide for the show. Kicking off with hectic backing vocals from the drummer and melodic leads from the guitarist, their multiple talents were already on display. Their soft alternative music was soothing at times, and adrenaline pumping at others, and clearly exhilarated the band as they all relentlessly danced their way around the stage. Ringing echoing guitars mixed with incredibly technical drumming to take a hold of the room, and make sure everyone’s eyes were affixed on the stage. Bouncy and dreamy as well as everything said before, the crowd grooved with them, and were obviously enjoying what they were seeing. They closed the set with a new unreleased song, and promised that they would be releasing new things soon. I know they’re coming back soon on a weekend tour with Oaks, so make sure to catch them then!

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Finally were the headliners in Clove. At this stage the room was filled all the way to the back, and excitement was brimming over. Several punters up the front were limbering up and getting ready to move, and as the band stepped up the stage the energy was immediately there.

Bringing the intensity immediately, vocalist Mark Jamieson was more passionate and involved than I’ve ever seen him perform. Getting up close and personal immediately, mic grabs and singalongs were constant. The rest of the band threw themselves around the stage like it was nothing, banging their heads, spinning and jumping, as they all shredded away on their instruments. Already overwhelmed by the excitement in the first song, Mark dived into the crowd to get amongst it even more. Pumped and giving out as much energy as he possibly could, the crowd gave it right back. As the set continued the energy continued. Air punching, moving, and just adrenaline-pumping power, the band always has incredible stage presence.

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Guest vocals from Victoria of Nothing Really and Matt from Turn South showed just how much of a celebration this was. “Negatively Geared” showed an extra level of fierceness from Clove, before they went into a new unreleased song called “Glow”. Tight revving guitar and a powerful bass solo are highlights of this song, and I can’t wait to hear it when it’s released. “Waiting” got the sweat dripping, while “Arecibo” brought the energy back down to earth for a minute.

Mark thanked everyone for coming, and made sure everyone knew how special this was to them. With that said, they launched into “Dear You”, a real old one, before getting to “Sober”. The vibes behind this song were as special live as they are recorded, and put an ultimate overarching mood of power and depth over the room. As I wrote in my notes, “what a fucking song”. I had to get amongst it myself for this, and the singalongs were powerful. They closed the set with “I Saw Fire”, and I can comfortably say this was the best performance I have seen Clove put on. Quickly after leaving the stage an encore was called for, and they jumped back up there and played another new song. It sounded massive, and was the perfect way to rock the house and end the night.

Clove always deliver, but this was extra special. The intensity and the passion they expelled during that set was amazing, and they’re quickly becoming one of my favourite bands to watch perform.

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[Photos courtesy of Albert Lamontagne]

Josh Hockey

Melbourne based music journalist who is ridiculously passionate about music, and spends every possible moment listening to it, seeing shows, and of course wearing the merch.

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