Once again for a mere $10 there were several bands playing at Valhalla, only this time each of the bands was very different musically.
First up we had Short Girls. Opening to a small crowd is never easy, and although Peter Harrow (lead singer) performed admirably it really looked like he needed an audience to interact with. The rest of the band slowly warmed up and started moving about as the set went on but the highlight for me was the drummer (Glen); right from the start he had some awesome energy. Self-described as a punk band, I found their music to be catchy with hardcore metal undertones, and even though it was a little bit heavier than what I usually listen to I found it very danceable and was disappointed that the set was so short. Overall, a tight sounding, fun and energetic band that I would like to see again.
Second was the band I went to see: New Age Leper. I have been wanting to see these guys since I saw them open for Racing late last year. With an incredibly tight set full of well constructed catchy, slightly grungy, rock tunes and the kind of infectious stage presence where the each member of the band has his own style and presence, yet the overall performance looks effortlessly smooth. Add to this the vocals of Bjorn Jovi – who has a voice that is possibly 80% Chris Cornell mixed with every other great grunge singer and some smooth moves on stage, and you get what may just be one of the sexiest (for both your eyes and your ears) sets I have seen.
Next up was Roadeater, a three piece instrumental band with a very atmospheric heavy metal vibe. I am not a big fan of instrumental bands, but they had a unique, groovy, metal sound and the crowd was completely into it.
Fourth was the original headline act, GCSB. GCSB is perhaps best described as a cross between Green Day and the Sex Pistols; kind of rocky with a good measure of punk thrown in. Their songs are a lot of fun and the lead has a good stage presence, making the most of the new ‘barrier’ at Valhalla. They performed an excellent cover of Teenage Kicks which I almost didn’t recognise as it is at least 10 times faster than the original. If you like good punk bands then they are definitely worth checking out.
Last up was Dimestore Skanks which it could almost be called a super group of several members from the previous bands. How they managed to fit 7 enthusiastic musicians on the tiny Valhalla stage alone is an impressive feat, but combine that with a tight sound and some funky tunes and you have a foot tapping, can’t stop smiling for joy kind of set. The stand outs in the line-up were without a doubt the drummer and the trumpet player. The drummer is one of those hard-hitting energetic types and I have never seen a trumpet player with so much stage presence: he managed to be the focal point whether he was playing, singing, or just standing back and grooving. This is one of those rare bands that is much more than the sum of its parts – highly recommend going to see them.