August 9th saw Brisbane locals Major Leagues pack out Black Bear Lodge for the launch of their ‘Endless Drain’ single tour and, with the help of Babaganouj and Rise, it was a pretty great night. Black Bear is one of Brisbane’s hidden gems and a great supporter of local music. I can’t fault the little nook in the wall and this night was yet another great one for local independent bands.
Openers Rinse brought a big sound to the little venue, channelling brit rock vibes reminiscent of The Smiths and The Cure. Their set was full of lengthy and indulgent instrumental interludes, complete with three electric guitars, a decent amount of reverb and a whole lotta synth. Luckily I’m a lover of dream pop and sucker for synth and apparently the crowd was too as we swayed along with the sullen vocals. Rinse were maybe a little too on the awkward side of “I’m in an indie band so I should be awkward on stage” and they had some questionable hair styles but other than that, these guys were a great opener for what was yet to come.
Next up was Babaganouj. Ex-Yves Klein Blue member (and member of Rise) Charles Sale started off the set with a solo performance before inviting the rest of the band on stage one song at a time. This made for an interesting start to the set and showcased the band’s versatility but inevitably the whole was better than each part separately. There were elements of brilliance in Babaganouj’s set but overall I was left hanging, probably due to the big reputation their past gigs have earned amongst my friends.
Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for. The house music turned down and Major Leagues very subtly began their set, to the point that some didn’t realise they had started playing. By this time Black Bear Lodge was full and personal space was in high demand, a luxury that I was willing to part with. Their sounds isn’t generally something I listen to but Jake, Anna, Jaimee, Vlada have an “I don’t give a shit” aura that perfectly compliments their surf rock sound. The girls took control of the stage and with Jake drumming avidly in the background, the four piece created a powerful and all engrossing sound that showed their fantastic musicianship individually and their great combination as a band.
There were two highlights of the show for me: when the band played ‘Endless Drain’, joined by the girls from the Go Violets and Jeremy Neale, and when they played a cover of ‘Your Standing On My Neck’ by Splendora, otherwise known as the theme song to the cartoon ‘Daria’. Major Leagues aren’t generally the genre I listen to and a lot their songs sound similar enough that I couldn’t tell them apart after first listen, making me lose interest by the end of the set, but overall it was a solid show and the crowd was having a great time.
Find out all the details of Major Leagues’ east coast tour here.