Hobart’s Uni Bar “Latches” Onto A Handful of Local Bands, Erupting in an “Annie Mae-ted” Round of Applause
Over the weekend, a spectacular display of local Tasmanian music featured at the Hobart Uni Bar, seeing the small venue bulge to its limits as the likes of Chase City, Poolboi, The Analogues, and Baby Lemur played to the ravenous crowds.
Headliners and organisers of the event, Chase City, wrapped up the Tassie leg of their Winter Tour, playing in Launceston with Baby Lemur, Cuban Heel and Just Flare on the Friday, and reaching Hobart on Saturday. The band will travel to Melbourne on August 20 to play with Pretty Bleak, but in the meantime, sent the night off in style, as they put everything into this last show – mourning the cancellation of the Sydney leg at the Oxford Arts Factory supporting Droves scheduled just a fortnight ago.
Joining Chase City were the enigmatic Poolboi – self-described as “a four-piece bathing suit” – they brought their many smooth, sexy, and sultry sounds peppered with lingering guitar solos and deep melodies. Also hailing from the southern recess of Sandford and surrounds, the lesser-known trio of The Analogues graced the crowds with their husky vocals and crafty synth drums, while Baby Lemur – the seven-piece consisting of multiple instruments and a wildly unique sound – blessed the audience with what some described as an other-worldly experience.
In the lead-up to the evening’s sold-out performance, each band had a lot to say about themselves and what motivates them and how they properly prepare for a significant show in a small, rampant community such as Hobart. They also delved into what it meant to play in front of the hyper-local crowd and absolutely blow the roof off a venue only recently housing the likes of Kingswood or A. Swayze & the Ghosts, and will host Paul Dempsey this coming weekend and Kinder later next month.
As headliners for this unique amalgamation of local talent, Chase City are no strangers to playing as feature artists or appearing at big-time festivals, as the band themselves were formed way back in 2013, later featuring that year as part of Triple J “Unearthed” at the Marion Bay Falls Festival. From there, the local Tassie act has seen an upward trajectory of cataclysmic proportion, touring Australia seven times and playing alongside bands such as Lime Cordiale, Client Liaison and the VANNS, just to name a few. While this is their first official tour in over 18 months, their performance on the night was something to behold, being the real ticket-seller of the evening.
Releasing a new track on the eve of the gig, the band also promised a handful of other new songs from their upcoming album that were produced by Malcolm Besley, an extraordinarily talented man who’s helped produce, mix and master for the likes of City Calm Down, Slowly Slowly and North East Party House. Also spruiking a “pretty damn dope light show”, the guys – made up of a software developer, a teacher, electrician, fencer and a storage developer – did not disappoint visually, as the effects complimented their raging mix of electronic rock and dance inspired drum’n’bass reminiscent of the body-shaking, heart racing ‘90’s era.
Along with releasing new music, the band put out a collection of accompanying music videos worth checking out, as lead singer Tarik Stoneman and his brother Tim who plays keys, drummer Michael Snape and his brother Peter on guitar, and Sam Forsyth on bass/keys, all feature, capturing the epic landscapes of Hobart City and its surrounds, while also roping in a lot of friends and family to just jump around a room or two. And in keeping with locality, the crowds hailed from some of the dingiest and also affluent parts of Hobart’s suburbs, while the other bands accompanying Chase City were just as domestic, but this made for such a unique turnout, where everyone felt included and danced their absolute hardest.
This four-piece has made quite the name for themselves recently, spending a lot of time in the studio working on producing new material and recording songs, finally committing many of their tracks to polished, digital content. With their most popular and chorus-belting track “Annie Mae” available on Spotify, the band are yet to release an EP, but when it comes, you’ll see the typical Poolboi fans driving around in their pick-up trucks, Mitsubishi Lancer’s or waterborne vessels with their music turned up to 69.
Coming hot off their debut festival appearance in April and several gigs held locally at bars and pubs, glamorous guitarist Rob Woodward, bad-arse bassist Howard Groves, docile drummer Hamish Renwick and vocalist/guitarist and walking sex symbol Lewis McVilly, certainly know how to rouse a crowd. Playing just outside of their own postcodes, their fans flocked in their droves and with their infectious funk ballads and self-proclaimed vocals reminiscent of the Kings of Leon, it won’t be long until this cruisy surf-rock outfit take over the mantle of the greatest Tasmanian band that ever lived.
With singer McVilly’s 30th birthday celebrations culminating on the same evening, there was also sentimental value behind the band’s performance, and before the show – while they wouldn’t care to admit it – all four men were dressed in their own outfits, huddled around a champagne bottle emitting sparklers from its opening, chanting the words “dirty thirty” and each sucking on their own fruity vape pens. The singular room that housed all four bands was filled with thick, pungent plumes of water vapour residue that engulfed everything it touched, and each person looked on in shock as this pre-show ritual celebration came to an end.
Possibly the youngest and most virginous band on the card, The Analogues themselves have made quite the splash within the local underground music scene, playing at a handful of niche gigs around South Arm, Lauderdale and Clifton Beach – anywhere south of the 42nd degree of latitude – and only recently played their first official gig at the Twisted Lime in early May, opening for none other than Poolboi.
The tantalising trio consists of lead singer Jackson “Smacko” Luttrell, drummer “Papa Andos” Jack and lead guitarist Jono “Long Johnson” Griffiths, and when the lads aren’t creating instrumental, garage-esque music full of reverbs and delays, they’re always busy with their hands – working outdoors as either a landscaper, oyster farmer or carpenter.
Even with the odd cover featuring throughout their many sets since their inception in 2020, the Analogues were keen to test out a few brand-new original songs that were otherwise unplayable last time, as Smacko made that impossible, strumming himself too hard at their previous gig. Making this incident very clear to the audience, both Smacko and Jono made sure everyone was on the same page and that their next couple of tracks were a big deal for them, and they did not disappoint opening the evening on such a remarkably high note.
Also hailing from Tasmania, this eccentric mix of personalities and instruments were easily the most exciting band to watch on the night, bring so much unpredictability and such a groovy flow to the venue. The man behind Baby Lemur’s creation, Callum Coleman, was a music producer from a young age, assisting the wonderful Kat Edwards on her first EP, and it was him and Harry who helped form the band and give it legs, arms, and essentially the arachnoid-like figure we see today.
Their sound is particularly difficult to place a definitive label on, but the 7-piece’s uniqueness and experimental sounds, was, for many on the weekend, their first time witnessing this electric and enigmatic performance. With that many interesting pieces of equipment all making their own sounds, it was a great time focussing on one and then the other, with Callum on guitar, Harry singing and playing guitar, Chris on drums, Louisa on the trumpet, Kyle on bass, Toby on keys and Joe on the trombone.
With their last performance being in Launceston the night before this gig, the band headlined their own show back in March at the Hobart Brewing Co., where their indie-folk, blues-inspired rock blew the house down, and just weeks ago, it was teased that they were working on some new songs up in the gorgeous Kimberly region, and some of these were featured in all their brand-new glory.
With doors opening at 7:30, the crowd was thin at first, but with local DJ legend Sexy Lucy tempting people in for the first hour or so, it wasn’t long for the newly renovated Uni Bar to fill up as patrons trickled in to see the first act showcase their catchy talents.
Kicking the night into gear, The Analogues amassed a large following, with people choosing to hang back and soak in the sweet vibes from afar, while the majority of revellers took to the front fence and belted their hearts out to some of the band’s classics like Take It Easy, or the one that really got people singing along, Bob Marley’s Is This Love.
As their tracklist had grown extensively since their last appearance, hearing the gruff vocals of Smacko and Jono harmonising were perfect for singing along to, while Andy kept the trio as tight as could be, belting away on the drums. It was the new songs, however, that won everyone over, adequately lubricating the crowd’s dancing shoes for the next act that was just as ferocious in tempo.
When Poolboi mosied their way on, there was a flurry of excitement, and as the beers, ciders and pink gins were flowing, the people were feeling great and came from all directions just to snatch a spot as close as possible. Their loyal fans huddled at the front, looking directly into lead singer Lewis’ glassy eyes as he took them all on a lyrical journey, while bass player Howard allowed no such thing, rocking sleek dark shades the entire set and slapping the bass in style.
The set was extremely tight – easily one of their best performances to date – and the sensual sounds of yet another guitar solo from Rob always gets everyone swooning, but it was a touching rendition of Happy Birthday that was sung to Lewis by everyone in the crowd that brought a little tear to the now-30-year old’s eye.
With a short interlude, it was time for one of the two headlining acts to emerge, and when the seven members of Baby Lemur spread out across the stage, the eclectic mix of instruments turned the atmosphere way up, gracing the still-expanding crowd with gorgeous vocals, brass solos and debuting a few new funky and fresh songs.
It was when Chase City came out to erupting applause, and a crowd whose age demographic was longer than a piece of string, all the Hobart locals in the building were eager to finally hear some of the band’s new material played live. Lead singer Tarik got everyone amped, jumping around the stage, but it was the thumping drums and hefty synth keys that impressed the most.
Amongst their brand new tracks like Latch and Feel It All that were so infectious it was impossible not to jump around and hug the person next to you, they put their own unique spin on Basement Jaxx’s Where’s Your Head At and Midnight City by M83. It was after their initial set, and following such a vocal chant from what felt like the entirety of Sandy Bay, the fellas came out and played one more song that rounded out their own Winter Tour and the amazing night of live, local music.
As the throng of people exited the Uni Bar close to midnight, the bands each congratulated one another in the backstage green room, sharing some beers and laughs, while some even left together, sharing taxis and heading into town to some other local bars around Hobart, celebrating well and truly into the early hours of the morning.
Cover image credit to: https://www.facebook.com/babylemurband/photos/a.124239169139332/330072561889324/
Copyright © Will Boddy 2021