A lot is being said about the Diamond Sea around Melbourne and a lot is being whispered about them in front of the stage tonight. What's wrong with them? Is it the bad and overly loud mix, their seeming lack of acknowledgement of the audience or something else that is reducing their usually sparkling and lively show into a rather dull and listless experience with every song melding into the next with very little dynamics.
'Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!' are part of a growing plethora of bands with annoying partial and disjointed sentence names that feel like they've been chosen just to be awkward and hip rather than any other reason. Their set starts well, especially after the dirge of The Diamond Sea's set, with some bright, well arranged tunes filled with a multitude of interesting instruments and counter melodies, especially in the grainy vocals of lead singer 'Caitlin'. Un yet, again, after a few songs something isn't gelling with the crowd, unhelped by guitarist 'Dave's' rather random, lengthy, bizarre and frankly annoying inter-song ramblings that result in an increasing amount of heckling throughout the set.
Thankfully after a rocky start to the night (or perhaps just fans who had no time for anything else), 'I Heart Hiroshima' do not fail to disappoint, suddenly the venue is full and everyone is piled together at the front of the stage. Even before the band start playing it is clear that they are far more experienced and aware of the importance of putting on a show that any other band on tonight's bill. Their recorded dynamic is reproduced live almost flawlessly, it is punchy and beautifully distinct, every guitar note, beat and vocal rings and fills the venue with almost perfect clarity. Each band member occupies the stage in their own way. Susie on vocals and drums is dominant on stage centre, she does most of the talking and is the most noticeable, Matt on guitar and vocals has a shabby charm, his face generally obscured by lank blonde hair, but occasionally his face appears from beneath to reveal a cheeky smile, finally Cameron on occasional vocals and guitar cowers in the stage's dark spots, looking apologetic for his presence. The band has an astonishingly loyal fan base, even in 'new' songs, most know all the words and when the end of the set arrives, no one will let the band leave, stomping and shouting until they return for an unplanned encore, a perfect representation of the band's wonderful dedication to delivering their music, surprised and humbled of their success.
Published in Inpress