Holy Fuck at The Hi-Fi
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Holy Fuck at The Hi-Fi

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The 2008 incarnation of the Meredith Music Festival holds up as one of the most magical in recent memory.

The 2008 incarnation of the Meredith Music Festival holds up as one of the most magical in recent memory. Though the then-fresh MGMT fizzled in the downpour, there were more than a few acts on the bill that absolutely killed it. Two of those acts being explosive Canucks Holy Fuck and the then-recently-formed guitar supergroup Beaches. Tonight’s lineup brought the ostensibly disparate outfits together once more, forming a bloody ripper of a bill. Further compounding the Meredithian sentimentalism was The Hi Fi bar serving Melbourne Bitter cans as the soup du jour.

Also along for the ride were ECSR guitar-maestro Mikey Young’s burgeoning synth-based side-project Total Control. On a handful of studio seven-inches the group have released, it could be deduced that their sound is exclusively a stripped-back, gritty take on early kraut-electro. However, in the live setting, the group are fleshed out to a straighter, classic-punk formation. It was damn loud and damn tight. The synth finally got a workout as they tore into possibly the best track of 2010, Paranoid Video. Disaster struck around halfway through as the drum machine chose to shit itself, leaving the band at a loss as what to do. Rather than replicate the rudimentary beat on the kit, they opted to pack it in and go straight into the next synth-devoid track.

It was a brilliant display of unpretentious punk jams, marred only by that uncooperative drum machine and their kinda rubbish closing synth-pop number. It sounded like something that crawled out of Brandon Flowers’ jocks. Regardless of that skidmark, Total Control are definitely ones to watch in 2011.

Goddamn I wish Beaches would hurry up and put out LP number two. Melbourne’s premier guitar band have released little in the way of recorded material since 2008’s self-titled debut, but have been the go-to support act for many visiting internationals. Obviously honing their craft and consolidating their sound, their current set features a bevy of new material that exemplifies their light-on-vocals, overload-on-guitar approach. It’s sad to see the awesome first-album cut Free Way become jettisoned from the setlist, but the wealth of new tracks more than makes up for it. (As an aside, bassist Gill Tucker would earn a nomination as Australian Of The Century based on attire alone: bluey, ripped jeans and a pair of Blunnies, all accessorised with a maroon tinnie. We salute you.)

A whole heap of weird shit was bought on stage in preparation for renowned noise-niks Holy Fuck. Their run of tracks was kicked off with the sounds of what appeared to be either an antique projector or a fettuccine maker, which was given stern wobbling to produce some pretty far-out warbling. Perhaps the band’s greatest feat is the ability to hold it together while continually plugging and unplugging all manners of not-exactly-musical instruments into the large array of pedals. Pretty sure a kid’s toy was plugged in at one stage to recite the alphabet.

Going by the addled memories of their 2008 Meredith set, the band have fleshed out their aural texture a hell of a lot since then. Tracks from latest album Latin are decent enough on record or when accompanied by lolcat-replete film clips, but the live setting is where they truly shine. Red Lights had the whole room bouncing along, teetering on the edge of a full-blown fuckfest of a dance jam.

Closing in resounding fashion with the irresistible The Pulse, Holy Fuck left the room with a ceiling stained with blown minds and likewise, many jeans with blown loads. Awesome.

Loved: One unholy alliance of a top-notch trifecta.

Hated: That one dude who yelled "Holy Fuck!" in between each song. Sure it was warranted, but shit got old real quick.

Drank: My wallet dry.