The sound of the crowd in the ballroom shifts from hushed anticipation to excited whistles and cheers as rock legends Even step on stage. After a few jokes and Matthew cheekily smiling at the packed-in crowd, the band kicked the night off with ‘Stop and Go Man’ off their 1995 Less is More Album. The perfect opener; A song long-time fans recognise and newcomers begin to nod along. With the Brunswick Ballroom’s low stage and intimate setting, I soon find myself completely immersed in Even’s performance.
Lead singer and guitarist Ash Naylor wastes no time jumping straight into the glam stomping ‘Six Monkeys’ track. It’s the first song from their new album Reverse Light Years to be played tonight but surely not their last. The catchy singalong has heads bopping in the crowd as the backing vocals from bass guitarist Wally Kempton draw you back into the moment.
28 years is a long time to be in a band. When you have a profound experience within a group of people that lasts decades, it’s going to leave an impression on you. Even appear more comfortable in their sound than ever tonight. With such long-standing musicianship in the Australian indie rock scene and an extensive back catalog of songs, one can develop a sense of how Even has matured over the years.
The atmosphere is dialled up a notch when Anton Ruddick (lead guitar) from Swedish Magazines joins the trio on stage. In a humbling and very human way, he unfurls paper sheets of music with him as Ash’s guitar riff reverberates through the crowd and they launch into ‘Electric Light’. I find myself among many in the crowd instantly singing along to the lyrics as the chorus hits; Do you feel alright? As day turns into night. Do you feel alright? Can I illuminate your night? Answering in my head: you sure can.
Hearing Ash’s guitar solo, I know I’m witnessing true artistry. I glance behind him to see Matthew Cotter on drums beaming at Ash while playing. It’s in these moments you can feel the camaraderie and companionship music brings not only to those who hear it but those playing on stage.
I stood mesmerised listening to ‘Cherry Afterglow’ as if travelling across the cosmos on the musical rise and falls - it was everything I wanted out of a slow rock jam and more it provided a musical break between dancing tunes. Artfully placed ‘Dandy Stomp,’ ‘Be Still’ & ‘Gold Sunday’ followed from the new album complementing the songs from their previous releases in this set.
An unexpected surprise and true highlight of the night was to see Nick Barham & Nick Murray jump on stage to cover The Smiths - There is a Light that Never Goes Out. The audience sang along to every word before the set was finished with ‘Don’t Wait’, the perfect way to close out a night of pure indie rock.
Photo Gallery by Darren Chan -