Tantrums and Pets With Pets Live at The Workers Club
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Tantrums and Pets With Pets Live at The Workers Club

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Local electronica upstarts Tantrums have enjoyed a steady rise through Melbourne’s underground, a rise which has pretty much run concurrent with the gradual expansion of their lineup.

Local electronica upstarts Tantrums have enjoyed a steady rise through Melbourne’s underground, a rise which has pretty much run concurrent with the gradual expansion of their lineup. After an initial conception as a two-piece synth outfit, the act find themselves in a quartet formation as they take over The Workers Club to launch the bloody brilliant debut single Anomie. Along for the ride tonight are a fine selection from Melbourne’s electronic art-rock scene, all utilising a fully decked out PA to great effect – cementing the venue’s reputation as one of the best-sounding bars in town.

The rather hirsute two-piece Pets With Pets commanded the fully packed bandroom with a hypnotic set, often delving deep into the realm of atonality guided by a singular Boss delay pedal. The effect was at times terrifyingly arresting – akin to the sensation of being paralysed in the gaze of those zombie mother fuckers in Ocarina Of Time (#nerdalert). After rocking a synth for most of the set, a shitty toy plastic guitar ­(the kind you’d expect to find at the bottom of a Dick Smith bargain bin) was pulled out to unleash some nasty-arse tones over some relentless, yet relatively restrained, drum-rolling. The haunting reverb lingered among the sweaty crowd well after the breathless display of glitched-out fuckery concluded.

It was evident many of the tracks which comprised Tantrums’ set had their formation during a more primitive stage in the band’s young lifespan, resulting in a fleshed-out form of minimalism – live drums providing a sometimes superfluous, yet brilliantly interwoven, complement to the banging synth beats churned through the mixer. If anything, the added instrumentation further accentuated the indelible sparseness which characterises the band’s sprawling soundscapes.

Rather than offer up a strictly aural performance, Tantrums pulled out all stops and employed the use of stage-encompassing projections. The filmic vignettes had been perfectly crafted and paced in time with each musical movement, resulting in around half of those in attendance choosing to sit down to soak up the full cinemascopic experience.

The night was rounded out with the eerily beautiful strains of Anomie. The vocoder-filtered vocals call to mind Laurie Anderson’s seminal minimalist opus O Superman, albeit with a “woah-oh-oh-oh” vocal hook that could easily find its way into an indie-rock anthem if it were to play it straight.

While it was a shit-hot performance from a solid and satisfying night, points must be deducted due to a case of merch-table myopia – the launched single in question suffered an exhausted supply soon after the house lights went up, leaving many disappointed punters (including myself) to ride the 86 home empty handed. Boo-hiss.

Photo by Leigh Crow www.flickr.com/photos/paradoxalmovement