The Audio Pollen Social Club @ 199 Boundary Street, West End, Brisbane, 10.02.13

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By Bek Moore

So it seems that the Audio Pollen Social Club has started to put on shows again to showcase some of the more experimental music available to the Brisbane punters.

Soft Power are on first, featuring members of other experimental and electronic bands like Sky Needle and Cured Pink and a ton of equipment that took three weedy men to carry: there’s more tech equipment on stage than at your local electronics store. Underlying melodies are layered with samples, white noise and percussive sound effects, with the driving drum beats keeping the melodies flowing.

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Then UNAUSTRALIANS. Costumed – perhaps as Nancy and Ronald Reagan? Guitarist Nil Stock has a Ronny rubber mask on anyway and Bonnie Hart, on keyboard, mic, drum machine and effects, a bit of the older lady wig and make-up thing happening, alongside her garlic necklace. The interactions between the two form part of the general dramatic air of the set, as is Stock’s use of old beat-up guitars that look like they shouldn’t be able to make a sound at all, let alone the amazing wails he coaxes out of them.

Hart uses a headset mic that spends half the set inside her mouth making percussive blips, while Stock literally bites his guitar – and I’m not talking just teeth on the strings, I actually expect him to get splinters. These guys do noise on a whole different level.

Two people on stage, crappy equipment – yet it’s SO loud it’s truly brain splitting. And it isn’t just random wank guitar with some keyboard over the top. There is structure, there are songs but with a beautiful subtlety that can only be seen to be believed. I’m entranced! I swear, I feel like I’ve been attacked by the Borg and had my brain rewired – I immediately feel bad for any band that has to follow this complete assault on all the senses. They are amazing. Beyond amazing. Unmissable.

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Next up are Super Feather. A technically brilliant jazz/funk/pop fusion outfit… not sure how to describe it. Following the previous performance is going to be difficult for any performer and Super Feather acquit themselves well partly due to the complete difference in approach to song writing and musical style. Let’s just say it fits in well in West End. The technical ability of the players is beyond reproach. The songs are well constructed and flowing. These guys are good, they may actually make some money in this town…

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Finishing up the evening is Mani Neumeier (Kraut Rocker of Guru Guru fame), Adam Sussman and Rory Brown. Mani does have a name for this outfit but I had trouble grasping it through his German accent. Aroma maybe – a mix of their names. They chug along at a nice pace, less trance than their recorded stuff, and closer to free noise with wah, than free jazz. The rhythm section is strong, and Sussman has moments of beauty layered over the top with his effect-laden guitar.

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The definite highlight is Mani’s drum solo on various kitchen tins. He uses plates, baking trays, tin cups and the like. He leaves the kit to throw these things around the room then starts attacking them with the sticks. There are moments of cacophony with soaring guitar noise and cruisey tracks that could close a two day festival. Perfect music for the tail end of an acid or MDMA trip.

Four bands play but there is one undeniable star of the night – UNAUSTRALIANS. Mind-fuck, neural re-mapping, noise that makes it really difficult to take anyone that follows them too seriously.

Photos courtesy of Bryan Spencer

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