Strand of Oaks & Endless Boogie joined forces at John Curtin Hotel and we were there
Downstairs at the Curtin the DJ was playing ‘80s classics such as Orange Juice’s Rip It Up and Start Again. A long line of people snaked past the bar on a slow moving journey to the Curtin bandroom.
Upstairs Endless Boogie were starting their set. Endless Boogie don’t play songs. They play grooves. Long, winding, elastic, rock riffs that hang out with John Lee Hooker in a smoke-filled Chicago club, gaze in acid-spiked wonder at Canned Heat at the Fillmore West, lie in the long grass watching Lobby Loyde at Sunbury and lock into the Krautrock discipline of Neu.
These were serious rock dudes, just doing their thing. Paul Major, two foot of hair down to his waist, Jesper Eklow, the enigmatic band leader nodded his head in silent concert with the vibes, Matt Sweeney, Endless Boogie producer and special guest on this tour, had a Hunter S Thompson look and feel about him – without the guns. The rhythm section of Marc Razo and Harry Druzd was tighter than a fish’s sphincter. The set lasted just over an hour. Everyone was in the vibe, chillin’ and groovin’. A few years back Endless Boogie played three hour-plus sets at The Tote. That didn’t happen here, so fans took what they could get.
Strand of Oaks were on next. They had some songs and some tasty licks. But there was a continuity and order issue. Something wasn’t quite right. Early on there was a sense of Buried Feather and Black Angels in the psychedelic riffage. This could have been another journey. But then it changed. The band’s hirsute leader, Timothy Showalter, writes songs. Some of them were very tasty, a bit of Hi-Fi Way-era You Am I mod-rock pop sensibility. And some tracks dug out from the lost crates of sun-splashed Californian country-garage rock. But not quite enough. If this had been the first set of the night, Endless Boogie would have brought punters home on a wave of grooves. The crowd had thinned out. There was a solid encore but it didn’t quite get anyone on the bus. Maybe next time.
By Patrick Emery
Highlight: Cosmic enlightenment
Lowlight: The order of bands
Crowd Favourite: Smoking figs in the yard