Live Review: Flynn Effect + Guests @ Stay Gold, Melbourne - 13/03/21

Headliner: Flynn Effect

Support: Colour And Shade + Treebeard

Venue: Stay Gold, Melbourne

Review by Rod Whitfield

First up, this was this reviewer’s first gig back in over a year, and damn, how good did it feel to be treading the boards in a live music venue, drinking beers and seeing bands with the punters again! A very solid crowd shows up on what is a horrid night in Melbourne too, people are obviously hungry for it.

This night is a sweet varied lineup, three very different bands playing short, sharp sets, which is great to see. Obviously influenced by the great Tolkien, Treebeard open proceedings with 30 minutes of atmospheric post-rock goodness, driven by fat, furry basslines, big drums and washes of guitar. And no pesky vocals getting in the way of the instrumentation. The enjoyably jarring dynamics of this sub-genre are always a treat; it’s all powerhouse grooves interspersed with long moments of textural ambience, the music taking you on an ebbing and flowing journey into sound. A few tasteful samples here and there add colour to the mix, and Treebeard’s set this night leaves us wanting more.

A sharp musical turn to the left sees Colour and Shade take the stage. The mood instantly shifts from melancholy moodiness to up-tempo and vibey, as this Melbourne five-piece slam out their broadly-appealing metalcore/pop-punk crossover. This band appears to be having a ball onstage and, in turn, so does the crowd, who bop along happily to the driving guitars, hyperactive drums, skillfully handled scream/clean vocal tradeoff and, most importantly, ultra-catchy songs. This band’s exuberance and onstage movement and energy are infectious.

Completing this trio of diversity is headliners Flynn Effect, who have been a mainstay on the Melbourne live music scene for the last several years (Covid notwithstanding). Their now-trademark visuals (bright white lights in mic stands, the necks of their guitars and even the bassists’ shoes!) grasp the attention, and their music and performance hold it as they swim through a set of their lush but powerful alt-rock. Pulling out a cover as a second song in an original band’s set is always a gutsy move, and covering a beloved tune like Massive Attack’s Teardrop is even more courageous, but they pull off their own fresh, very much Flynn Effected take on it with aplomb.

Elsewhere, their ample use of samples adds an orchestral, and sometimes almost synthwavey tone to the sound, which is very pleasing to the ear. Some of the vocal enhancements fail for a moment late in the set, but hey, that’s technology. That’s what it does sometimes.

Live music is slowly but surely reawakening in Melbourne, and hopefully it won’t be too long before it’s back to its vibrant self.

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