Recently signed Melbourne based “post-punk inspired hip-hop” artist Grey Ghost hit the Espy over the weekend, dragging along a few closely connected local bands in the process. Opener Electric Opera and main support Private Life feature members of Grey Ghost frontman Jeremedy’s now disbanded The Melodics and Cash For Gold is the new project for Jack Weaving (front man for Dukes of Windsor) - produced by Grey Ghost producer and live band member Matik. Check them all out if you haven’t already.
Grey Ghost - Black Ghost Gold Chain
I was already planning on going to this show on my lonesome, but an added bonus was finding out that Kisshead, the opening band for the night, was actually my friend’s housemates’ band and that Steve (Matik) was joining them on stage. This meant that the onstage band was 3/4 of who I saw as Grey Ghost not long ago. It was clear early though that Kisshead was far removed from Jeremy’s solo work, with the hip-hop beats and rhymes giving way to the ukelele and xylophone. The change isn’t born in sacrifice though, since the two still have a killer sound, especially on the song I think was called Climbing Tall Trees. Juleiaah and Jeremy work brilliantly together, seamlessly switching between lead and backing vocals. I’m not sure how active this project is with everything that’s happening with Grey Ghost, but here’s hoping they stick at it for a while longer.
Next up was local four-piece Without Wolves. After the intimacy of Kisshead, these guys seemed a bit over the top at the start. Earplugs in place though, I started to get into their set. I instantly heard parallels with At The Drive-In and I’m glad to see them as the first band in Without Wolves’ “influences” to know I wasn’t making shit up. The keyboard sounded like a strange addition, but not necessarily a bad one. The drumming was first-class and kept the intensity up throughout the set. I’d be interested to see these guys in a more suitable venue. I’ve got a feeling they could tear it up.
Private Life were playing their first ever headline show, so that was a milestone not to be missed. The venue was a lot smaller than the first time I saw them at The Evelyn, as was the crowd. Unfortunately, this more intimate setting resulted in the crowd being less willing to dance at front-of-stage, instead opting to hang back and watch. I’m not one to initiate any kind of dancing so I can’t criticise anyone, only comment. The lack of crowd interaction meant the show was a touch flat but with Juleiaah and one of her friends jumping up for the last few songs there was a definite change in energy. Run Run was of course a higlight, along with Black Heart and Leggo. Just as with the Evelyn show, their Dreams (Fleetwood Mac) cover was amazing. During the gig Steve gave me the good news that he may be working with Private Life to record Medicate and he is now under strict instruction from me to make them record this cover too.
Private Life are playing the Evelyn again this coming Sunday (Dec 18) with Animaux. If anyone wants a gig buddy, give me a holler, otherwise I don’t think I’ll go.
Kisshead - 8/10
Without Wolves - 7/10
Private Life - 7/10
In reality, there is probably only 2-3 songs from my favourite 10 of the year in this list. The others aren’t available because JJJ are horribly inconsistent in selecting which songs are available for voting and which are excluded. In previous years I’d have voted for my favourite 10 songs that were available in the voting, but I really couldn’t be bothered this year so I’m just filling up on local bands that I’d like to see make it in.
More gig announcements should happen like this…
The only reason I came to this show was to see the support band - Grey Ghost, featuring a friend of mine Matik. Grey Ghost is the new solo project by The Melodics' front man Jeremedy and tonight was their debut live show. Aside from Jeremedy missing a cue at the start of one song, there were no other signs of teething problems. Jeremedy's energetic performance was hard to confine during the set and would have been a lot more fluid on a bigger stage. The set closer, complete with guest drummers, is sure to be a hit if they manage to get picked up by any of the festivals over summer. Unfortunately a week has passed since the show so I'm unable to give the titles of any of the songs from the show apart from lead single Space Ambassador - an obvious highlight. After a bit of JJJ airplay already and an upcoming support slot for 360's tour, Grey Ghost is sure to be someone you'll be hearing more from soon.
After 20 minutes of Jackson Jackson's set I was ready to leave. Had I not had a comfortable leaning post near the front of the stage I have no doubt I would have. 40 minutes in I was still counting down the minutes until I was free - I couldn't find any connection to the music, finding it disorganised and generally unappealing. As I stood there thinking what it was about these guys that almost convinced me to go to a show in 2007 they refreshed my memory with Eliza - probably their most popular song from that time. I was still unimpressed, but at least the familiarity of hearing a song I knew was something to cling onto. From that point though, either something clicked within me or the band started playing some more accessible songs - I’m not sure which. Whichever was the case though, the show was thoroughly enjoyable from then on.
Whilst I probably won’t go back to see them again I would encourage fans to definitely check them out. New song Dave was one of the most fun on the night, closely followed by Down To The River and The Devil In Me. One thing that Jackson Jackson can definitely hang their hat on is that I think they’re the only band in history to cover John Paul Young's Love Is In The Air in the same set as playing an instrumental tribute to Super Mario Bros. (I also suspect that they played snippets of Tool and Rage Against The Machine during some guitar/keytar solos, but I may have been imagining that…)
Grey Ghost - 8/10
Jackson Jackson - 6/10