Distant Tempos @ Where?House, Melbourne (20/11/2012)

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As part of Melbourne Music Week, the folks behind Where?House lovingly recreated a rave scene era set-up within the derelict Argus Building and the results have been nothing short of startling. Tonight’s event, Distant Tempos, was dedicated to local artists and brought together some of Melbourne’s freshest and most diverse talent.

Of course, Where?House isn’t just all about the music. Upstairs there was a lecture area where DJs such as Detroit’s Deep House veteran Mike Huckaby spoke about Ableton with local main-stay Mike Callander. There was also a mini food hall set up with tasty treats from the likes of such hipster favourites as Fancy Hanks, Huxtaburger, and I Love Pho.

Downstairs the dark, industrial surrounds of the band room area were lit up with an eerie glow of projections. From the snowy effect of an out of tune television to swirling psychedelic visuals, the whole look of the venue effectively captured the look of 1990s rave-era Melbourne. Keeping the crowd entertained in between sets with an eclectic range of house and electronica was DJ Simon Winkler from Triple R’s Breaking and Entering.

No Zu hit the stage and instantly had the punters dancing. Originally a solo project for band-leader Nicolaas Oogjes (vocals, percussion, keys), they have expanded to six-person collective. Along for the ride are Daphne Sum and Andrew Noble from Rat vs Possum, therefore comparisons may be inevitable. However, sound-wise they are probably closer to the bastard lovechild of LCD Soundsystem, Pigbag, and the Happy Mondays. I was definitely feeling a Madchester vibe coming out the soundsystem during their set.

The last time I saw No Zu play was at Sugar Mountain 2011. From memory, I then wrote them off as a bit too busy, throwing everything AND the kitchen sink at the audience. Perhaps it wasn’t the right setting, or my own tastes have changed, because tonight they really brought it. The most enjoyable act of the evening, and definitely one to watch in 2013.

Lost Animal’s set commenced with some sound issues, but by about two songs into the set they seemed to have ironed out all the problems. With killer singles such as Lose The Baby, Say No To Thugs, and Buai Raskol, it’s not hard to see why they have such a cult following. It’s just a pity that the live show was lacking something. With only Quarell and Shags on stage, the show has a very pre-recorded feel to it and lacks the spontaneity his songs deserve. I had to do a double take when I noticed that bass player Shags was looking quite at home not wearing any trousers. This, I’ve been told, is quite a regular occurrence in a Lost Animal set!

For some reason they organisers opted to reverse the natural order of artists on the bill, going from high energy with No Zu to almost ambient with Oliver Tank. Given the late start, the crowd had thinned somewhat by the time he hit the stage. However, he finished off our evening in style with his lush, ethereal, and layered sounds of synth and guitar. To get a venue packed out on a Tuesday night is no mean feat, especially when you consider that there were no big international acts. It’s refreshing to see, and can only be good for the local scene. Here’s hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Where?House, and events at The Argus Building in general.

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