Severed Heads @ The State Library

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Severed Heads @ The State Library


It felt somewhat mischievous watching bands in the ornate confines of the State Library. Drug Sweat smashed out a vociferous set, the usually silent halls of the library now disrupted with the band’s bratty and boisterous noise. Excellent.

Terry have really come into their own lately, playing a few spanking new songs which were first-rate. Tom Hardisty from NUN joined them onstage for half the set, adding some nice bassy synth on his Roland SH-1000. Al Montford’s guitar playing was wonderful and nuanced, full of cool melodic turns and some interesting solos. The interplay of Montford’s vocal with the two girls, Amy Hill and Xanthe Waite, lifted the songs into a more dynamic realm, with the call and answer approach peppered with the girls’ pert intonations. All this was set against the strict backbone of Zephyr Pavey’s rhythmic drumming; a sound so meteoric it could’ve been a drum machine. Terry were exceptional.

Over to the Dome, library books, wooden work desks and swivel chairs created a studious and strange atmosphere. Amidst the stuffy interior, elevated by a wooden pedestal, the ethereal Ela Stiles performed a luminous set. Her underwater vocals accentuated the sometimes ambient, sometimes gloomy electronic soundscapes, melodically shifting through the repetitive loops with a delicate intensity. The setting of the Dome was apt for NUN. Their sound has morphed into a dark disco beast, with Jenny Branagan exploring new vocal terrain, less reliant on reverb and delay. More melodic and higher in range, Branagan’s vocals lean towards a pop element, however, her lyrics remain ominous and threatening. This new approach suits the band well, and Branagan’s vocals are brilliant, accentuating each synth line with structured precision.

Headlining the night was seminal Australian band Severed Heads. As muchas I adore Severed Heads, the band picked compositions from the ‘90s phase, rather than the first two albums that most people would love to hear. It was a little more acid house than the industrial fans were expecting, with the vocals so dry and in front of the mix, that it was hard to correlate this sound with everything loved about the band.  All in all a bloody good night at the library.

By Cassandra Kiely

Highlight: Jenny’s flykick.

Lowlight: Pushy bastards in crowd.

Crowd Favourite: Lucy Cliche.