In my head I’d dubbed it ‘The Simpsons Show’ – because of its Simpsons’ themed poster – but the return of Tapestry to Stay Gold on Friday night could easily have been called ‘The Darwin Show’. It’s important to note that as remote as it may seem to Melbourne locals, the Darwin heavy music scene is tightknit and passionately committed. These dedicated devotees are even longstanding regulars of UNIFY Gathering.
Given that the show at Stay Gold was the very first for Darwin based band Draftday in Melbourne, their crew had come to support both bands and filled Stay Gold to the brim. I’d personally been anticipating the Draftday set for some time, after giving their When I Went Away EP full marks last year, not expecting to get the chance to see them live so soon.
Draftday took the stage with a presence so comfortable it made it seem like they played Stay Gold every weekend. Vocalist Arran Barker oozed the rockstar vibes that I’d expected from the EP and its respective music videos. Dancing and becoming one with his mic or sample pad on stage, Arran’s presence was a mesmerising one; fascinatingly theatrical and authentically expressive.
The vibes were good in the packed bandroom, and the set offered a chance for moshing or bouncing along with songs from When I Went Away that sounded incredible live. A new track whipped up an emotive storm in my insides while also being danceable. Trying hard to memorise it until the time when it happens to get released, I noted that it delivered a strongly enunciated section with instrumental build-up seeming purposely designed for us to call out too (once we learn the words of course).
I’d had a ‘Damn, this band deserve bigger stages!’ moment while they played “Mess I’ve Made”, not realising at the time that Draftday were part of the Yours & Owls festival just the weekend before. There’s bound to be more of that to come.
I have zero criticism of the set, easily embracing the beauty of “Aster”, which I’d been moved by with the expansion from acoustic guitar and voice out to a full band expression. Ending with “White Fences” was perfection, and I couldn’t believe I was hearing it live. It was further icing on the cake for Arran to jump down into the crowd and truly let us be present with the rawness of the song. There was nowhere else I’d have wanted to be in that moment, and I love when live music has that impact on me.
And like the rockstar he is, the final moments saw Arran collapse onto the stage. More of this again soon, please.
With Draftday as sheer perfection, I felt sympathy for the bands left to follow such a class act as the show’s opener. Dweller came on next, and I’ll readily admit that I’m not at all familiar with these guys. With full energy and appealing tempo changes, there was a LOT going on and a lot to take in for a first-time listener. Guitar noodling was clearly in there, but soon lost in the joyful chaos, and there were some good choruses going on too. Definite substance!
An unending well of energy spilled upon the Stay Gold collective from the Dweller stage, and it had me intrigued to hear the recorded versions and get to know the band a bit better. The set delivered catchy rhythms and solid energy, with my ears drawn to occasional bass pockets, and my eyes watching a crowd being easily matching the enthralling beats.
Though I can’t comment on specific songs, Dweller shared relentless intensity and some sick breakdowns. The band were strong and held their presence well on stage for the full crowd in front of them, with searing vocals ravaging the subject matter at hand.
I think I’ll blame it on the wine and good times, but my notes are unfortunately limited for ATLVS. Regardless, the Melbourne crew played a solid set! Electric and roaring, hearing crowd favourite “Love” was a treat, as was taking in the bewitching melodies floating out in general.
The ATLVS experience was one of heightened energy, both in the crowd and on stage, where two-stepping abounded and the mammoth breakdowns were clearly all for fun. There was unmistakable crowd love for this band. I believe it was the first time I’d seen ATLVS with vocalist Mitch, but this also happened to be his last show with the band.
As you might have predicted, the Darwin-heavy crowd were eager, ready, and rowdy before the Tapestry set started. The hype was added to by spectacular stage lighting, and the screaming crowd were ready as the band arrived on stage to blue hues and beams of light. Leading with “Retrospect”, we were eased into this, drawing up close and personal with Tapestry.
“Ghost” kicked off more of a chilled and dancey good time, both in the crowd and on stage, with vocals bolstered by everyone there who knew the words (ie. all of us). Vocalist Tom Devine-Harrison sings like an angel at times, and roars out reality-splitting moments in the next sentence, but regardless of mood, the crowd were ready and willing to finish his sentences.
Ringleader Tom then led the Tapestry disciples into the beautiful “Never Felt The Same” – the band’s newest single – rapidly shifting from dreamy delicateness to roaring flames. Whether recorded or live, the slow song that rips outward into anthemic fullness is incredibly satisfying.
Guitarist Luke Dorward shone with glorious tones, and as a whole Tapestry created an instrumental dreamland for us to play in, while vicious lyrics seemed determined to shred layers off the Stay Gold interior. “Love/Deception” saw Draftday’s guitarist Tom Ford contribute his voice while Benjamin Masters’ hefty drums rained fury down upon us all. It was the perfect chance for Tom (Devine-Harrison, that is) to leap off the stage and be supported by the crowd.
As a massive crowd favourite, “Dark Shade” was a stand out moment of feelgood unity and a good chance to sing along, especially in the closing moments. Weighbridge‘s Sean Ross featured on the song, and this heartwarming peak of the night came to a close; with “Oversight” as an encore; a bouncing, jumping good time.