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Launching an album? Slowly Slowly showed Fitzroy exactly how to do it last Friday, and we were there

Slowly Slowly live

In not much more than a year Slowly Slowly have gone from playing to a small contingent of loyal fans at all the best must-play dives Melbourne has to offer, to recently releasing their debut album Chamomile to critical praise and adoration from listeners.

The album launch on Friday night at The Evelyn in Fitzroy was the biggest night in the short, yet busy life of the band.

slowly slowly live

Photo by Michael Roberts

Slowly Slowly live at The Evelyn was everything a launch party should be: crowd-surfing, crushing noise and a brotherhood between screaming fans.

Kicking off proceedings for the night were Adelaide’s Hyder Seek. Led by talented songwriter Bec Stevens, whom you may know from her brilliant solo work, Hyder Seek revel in their self-aware brand of alternative-rock.

The guitars wash over each other, the cymbals crash, and eyes closed, Stevens sings passionately into the fray. Their sound belies the young age of the band, they’re definitely one to watch.

Second on the line-up are Jurassic Nark. Take a pinch of punk, a dose of garage and a healthy sprinkling of grunge and you have their sound. It makes for some tasty good-time punk, with plenty of fast guitars and just the right amount of flair. ‘Ois’ abundant, you couldn’t accuse them of being a band that suffer from cultural cringe, sounding somewhat like Mick Taylor fucked the first Foo Fighters album.

Max Quinn’s Onomatopenis are up next and as you might have guessed by their name, their confidently awkward humour informs a great deal of the band’s identity. The songs tend to be very narrative based and are filled with blunt phrases like “I’ll miss you like fuck” that lend them a brand of honest charm and leave you feeling all tingly.

Unashamed of the strained imperfections of his voice, these qualities only serve to complete the picture of Quinn’s self-conscious, down-to-earth character.

Last support for the night is Foam. The Perth boys fill the dark room with a sound that should be far beyond a three-piece; heavy drums, fuzzy bass and sinister guitar riffs so grungy you can barely hear the chord changes – at least until they want you to.

Here to launch new single I Could Milk Myself, the song is a real highlight and shows a more nuanced side of the band that are much more than a call-back to the grunge of the 90’s, instead it’s like that era never ended but grew overtime and matured into Foam.

After four bands the crowd is feverish, and after being around for barely longer than a year, Slowly Slowly have packed out the Evelyn. The band look nervous, but you get the sense that it’s only because they appreciate the responsibility that comes with such a good turn out. Starting the set with the intimately delicate album opener Elbow, the band then blow the quiet out of the room and launch from tune to tune without a dull moment, bouncing around the stage and giving it their all.

That special ‘launch show’ vibe is in the air and crowds that are typically quite docile in their movements (not that that’s a bad thing) have transformed into a jumping, crowd-surfing and all-round partying mass of bodies that are clinging to every word.

Front-man Ben Stewart sings in impassioned fashion over a medley of driving bass, huge drums, and interlocking guitars that range from playful melodies to shredding power chords. The result is a sound that stands on the shoulders of all the best parts of late 90’s – mid 2000’s indie-rock – think Manchester Orchestra and Built To Spill, with an original twist and a bit more energy, thoughtful lyrics and sexy hooks.

Strangers become friends while belting out the words to the lyrical journey that is Death Proof and Ceres front-man Tom Lanyon joins the stage briefly for the crescendo of PMTWGR, making for a moment that can only be described as epic – these kinds of magic minutes are the reasons we go out to see bands.

It’s clear why the small, loyal contingent of fans from just over a year ago has grown to a packed room of fans.

After the show this writer sits on the stage and watches the people mill around the room, all grinning from ear to ear. As my back aches from lifting a friend on my shoulders out of adrenaline, I realised that there are three things certain in life; death, taxes, and that Slowly Slowly are going places.

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August 23, 2016

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