Monday, June 29, 2009

Pocket Rockets A-go-go

Charlie Thorpe a.k.a Dash

Amy Meredith's Christian Le Russo

Singing, dancing pocket-rockets were the M.O on Saturday night, when Amy Meredith supported Dash and Will in a night of good old fashioned sweaty fun. Indie music haven the Hopetoun was the perfect venue – the no bullshit vibe (no Diet Coke served here, or fresh lime for that matter. Yes, I asked. Yes, I live in the eastern suburbs) was fitting for Dash and Will’s bolshy, acerbic set and Amy Meredith front man Christian Lo Russo’s tongue in cheek stadium pop theatrics.

I walked in just in time to see Lo Russo take to the stage and launch into a surprisingly energetic, ambitious set. For such a small guy he throws himself every which way with such conviction and glee, and I couldn’t help but grin - anyone that ridiculous is, by default, amazing. The fact that he really can sing (his soaring top register is remarkable) and that these Sydney boys are a good-looking bunch of lads makes them easy marketing fodder. And the fact that they list Heart Break High as an influence and that Lo Russo’s equally height-challenged parents are his number one fans (in the crowd whooping, waving and singing all the words) makes them cool cats with tragic undertones, which really is the best kind of cool. One bone to pick before moving on: what’s with the band name? Look out for their as yet unnamed debut album due out soon, and if you haven’t seen them live already, get thee to a gig.

Charlie Thorpe (Dash) and Josie De Sousa-Reay (Will) are Josie and the Pussycats for the noughties. Brash, pouting De Sousa-Reay is no bigger than Kylie Minogue but has all the attitude of the Spice Girls put together, while Thorpe has a more mysterious, broody presence and the sweeter voice of the two, and they foil each other beautifully. Much of their music is based on strong vocal harmonies and call and response melodies and Thorpe’s delicious alto notes and wispy, girlish top notes add depth and range to De Sousa-Reay’s extroverted performance, which would otherwise run risk of seeming trite.

Playing a mix of old and new material, the Melbourne girls got the packed room moving in that indie-crowd-awkward-dancers-someone’s-elbow-is-in-my-back kind of a way, thrilling the keen beans at the front if the number of aforementioned elbows in my back is anything to go by. Current single Out of Control was a winner of course and their new song Didn’t Know (to be released on their new album Up In Something in August of this year) and a charming Easybeats cover were highlights.

Still only in their teens, Dash and Will probably have some growing up to do before they carve out a definitive niche in indie pop – they’re still uncomfortably close to The Veronicas’ territory – but they’re damn good fun in the meantime. A rocking gig, and two young bands that, with a bit of spit and polish, could definitely shine down the track.