Words by Jack Herz
For the first night of Swirl Records’ Umbrella: Winter City Sounds showcase, local bands Terrapin, Somnium (Formerly Oxymoron) and Slick Arnold hit the Colonel Light Hotel. Melbourne 6-piece Masco Sound System were originally booked as the headliners but a little bit of vehicular trouble prevented their visit.
First up were psychedelic rock outfit Terrapin. Having only been playing shows for nearly a year now, Terrapin are still fresh faces to the Adelaide music scene but their musical prowess could definitely take them a long way. Despite playing to a small crowd, the 4-piece didn’t let this affect their focus and managed to pull together some pretty impressive instrumental pieces complete with woozy pedal effects and harmonised guitar riffs. Terrapin are still going through some growing pains though as it’s clear their confidence on stage could do with some improving, and their overall mix reflected negatively on the vocals. Luckily, set closer- which was a cover of Felt’s ‘Now She’s Gone’- definitely placed the focus back on just how capable these guys are of moving through songs with style and poise.
Next up was Somnium, these guys have been around since the start of 2015 and have gone through a couple of line-up changes, but their set last night confirmed that the bands current incarnation is something that should be held on to. Having not seen the band play for nearly a year, I was eager to see how they had honed their sound and from the first few moments of set opener ‘Gypsy Eyes’ it was clear that the answer was quite a bit. The addition of keys and bass and more backing vocals has clearly helped to widen their sound profile immensely. But it has to be said that Somnium are a band for jam and solo enthusiasts, holding every song out past the 5-minute mark with incessant riffing took a toll by the end of their set. This isn’t to say that the solos aren’t impressive but just that they tend to hijack the songs more often than not and drag them out to overly-indulgent lengths. The backing vocals of bassist Hannah Yates were a saviour at these times though, cutting through the mix with a smoky tone that really ought to be heard more often.
Closing out the night was Slick Arnold. This 3-piece has been doing the rounds for many years now and they’ve carved out a sound that is rarely heard in modern music. Pair this with the fact that all three members have been playing music together since their schooling days and you have a foolproof recipe for a good time. Specialising in rock music that has a groove to it, Slick Arnold make music you can dance to, and despite the small crowd they did manage to get a few stragglers bopping away to the beat. Although the band is tight as hell, there were still some accidental tempo changes which were swiftly mended and laughed off by the band. The band closed off their set with new single ‘Horses For Courses’ and left the crowd with a feeling of sonic-satiety.
Next Thursday will see Horace Bones, Siamese, Rat Ta’ Mango and Queen Of Darts doing their thing at the Colonel Light Hotel at 8pm for a measly $10. If that wasn’t enough, there’s $5 beers and spirits too. So get on down and support your local and enjoy a night of the good stuff Australia has to offer in live music.