Before we have the chance to miss them, The Pinheads will return from the studio …
sleepmakeswaves with Rosetta + Oolluu
Thursday 7th December, 2017 – Howler Brunswick
If you made it to Howler last night, you deserve a medal for bravery. You arrived trawling through torrential rains and cutting winds, and for that sleepmakeswaves ought to salute you. They did, of course. Many times over.
Howler is a trip of a place. Lighted cubes spread across the ceiling and bamboo shoots across the walls. There’s even a little FinnAir black metal bar enclosed to the side of the stage, where cheapskates can watch through plexiglass, and by candlelight. Thanks to the intense downpour, me and snapper Bree missed Oolluu, but we did get to see Rosetta.
Rosetta is one of those bands who answers “no” when asked “can you have too many effects?” Effects pedals can mask ineptitude, that’s sure. Rosetta aren’t one of those bands. Far from it. A crushing, heavy jam right from the start, it was a weaving together of a many varied element. The emo looking dude on bass grooved alongside the “I definitely went to uni” black metal guitarist, and hippie looking Michael Armine, dressed in khaki top and baggy jeans. If you saw them hanging out at the bar, you wouldn’t believe it was one entire band. Anyway, Armine’s vein popping performance stunned newcomers and those who’d waited seven long years for another round of Rosetta tuneage. An incident with a huntsman spider prevented an earlier return, Armine told us. During lighter, ethereal moments, its as if our minds were like leaves caught in an updraft, enjoying the freedom of the air around us. At times, it was a wonder if their bear-like drummer ever paused for breath, pounding away like depth charges under inky black seas. At times, it was a stampede of riffs and colour. It was well worth the wait.
Retreating to the FinnAir lounge, we marveled at bamboo stalactites as we munched on Bloody Mary and Dill Pickle flavoured chips (we were in the so-hip-it’s-expensive centre of Melbourne after all.) and wondered if we could sit and watch sleepmakeswaves like they were zoo animals. We also pondered, where does the zoo put animals during heavy rain? They must have a special house, or something.
Within minutes of their intricate, soul-shaking set, one thought bubbled to the surface: they were robbed of that ARIA.
Anyway, this is the thing about sleepmakeswaves – they unite so many fans under one banner. It was an equal mix of metalheads and prog-rockers, men and women, young and old, black tee-shirts and colourful dresses. Even two jazz freaks sporting pork-pie hats were having the time of their lives. They emerged “without the usual prog rock twinkles,” instead dedicating the set to the hard-fought victory of the LGBT community, getting the right to marry their loved ones in Parliament today. Finally. Proud to wear their special rainbow t-shirts, they jumped straight in. As in, bouncy castle jumped. Within minutes of their intricate, soul-shaking set, one focused thought bubbled to the surface: they were robbed of that ARIA.
Riffs burned hot to molten, even igniting fat funk vibes in certain passages. Songs had their own character, though it would have worked as one complete suite from beginning to end. Guitars crashed into our bodies, receding and flowing well, not unlike waves. A few puffs of green wafted through the air, too. Why alter your consciousness when SMW are doing a bang-up job of doing it for you?
As chaotic as it felt, it seemed as if we could toss our earthly bodies away and just let it all wash over us. Some punters availed themselves of the chance, too. Or they went nutso in the pit to some primeval thunder. At times I felt bad for bassist Alex Wilson, stuck behind the synth as his bandmates thrashed around in front of him. It was energy all around, people’s faces plastered with smiles, embracing one another, even fainting. (Well, one dude did.)
“These are the vibes we’re looking for,” said Otto on guitar. I don’t think anyone was searching, but I reckon we found them too.