As the end of the year approaches and we all start to wind down it’s a good time to experience gigs that are just a little left of center and designed for the festive season. This year I started my holiday season with a ‘Kinematic Christmas’.
Kinematic are one of the first bands I discovered since moving to Melbourne thanks to a tip off from another music industry friend. I attended their launch for their new single ‘Cookie Cutter’ a month or so ago now and like the launch, this show is being held at Red Betty’s in Brunswick.
What’s Kinematics’ story?… Kinematic formed in 2002 and comprises of four Melbourne boys, two of whom are brothers; Gordon Clarke (Guitar/Vocals), Michael Clarke (Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals), Mark Olszewski (Drums), Michael Owen (Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keyboard).
Kinematic self-describe their genre as ‘UNPOP’! This to me seems to be a fair call as their music melds together a unique and lively fusion of Folk, Pop and Rock some of which is delivered in a straight, classic representation and some that leads to the eccentric outposts of lyrical and instrumental musings.
For a special Christmas Show, Kinematic have chosen a daytime period on a Sunday making it perfect for a family ‘all ages’ event. The boys are a good-humored bunch and I find myself cordially greeted by all band members despite us only seeing each other once before. I don’t think this afternoon could be anymore laid back in attitude.
There are three acts on the billing today and with the former two being Ryan Sterling and The Mansions it’s now time for Kinematic to kick in!
Straight in with a 2005 release from their album “Time &Place” Tripitaka-san followed by a 2007 release from their album “The 38th Parallel” – In The Company of Talking Machines. And so, the setlist flowed from each album…
‘Time & Place’ (2005) – Championship Vinyl, Louder
‘Kinecism’ (2014) – Davy Jones, No Sunshine in Sunshine, North By Northwest
‘Kites’ (2009) – 5 O’Clock High, Peyote
Also performed were the latest singles of 2019 which are destined to be a part of Kinematics next album which at this time has no name – ‘Two’ and ‘Cookie Cutter’. Of these ‘Two’ remains my favorite Kinematic track either live or recorded as I am drawn into the Psych Rock flavourings on offer. If you are a fan of The Flaming Lips, then this is the Kinematic song for you!!
Whilst the venue is a little on the smaller side it has a stage that just fits a four piece on it nicely. The projective sound was uncluttered and no distortion evident bar a few feedback pitches which didn’t disturb the party goers.
Instrumentally each band member is an experienced player of their respective instrument choice. The notes produced are sharp and clear and bolstered by well timed purposeful fuzziness and distorted effects of those on guitar. There are moments when Clarke and Owen bounce off each other and visually it looks as though they are taunting each other but it’s all in good fun.
Olszewski on drums is proficient with his keeping of crisp tempo and flamboyant patterning and he locks in well with Clarke. Clarke himself shines producing some nice lovely velvety tones on bass and as a performer he is engaging and energetic slinking forward at some points to be center stage.
In fact, on that last point ALL the Kinematic boys are energetic performers and there’s a bit of carry on between them on stage providing lighter entertainment moments. Not shy of interacting with the punters, there was some friendly jibbing from audience to band and vice versa which just served to make a more jovial atmosphere.
Mid set we see Owen take his place at the keyboard. Expecting a polarizing ballad break I was pleasantly surprised by not a ballad and not a headbanger but something in between. The keyboard sound I think breaks up the excitement but doesn’t lose it completely…just enough time to dial down a couple of notches before bringing it back up again.
What I’ve learnt about the Melbourne music scene is if you want to hear great original music in a cosy, inviting atmosphere from true artists who believe in their music and are not pretentious but abundantly proud of what they are producing – walk down the little alleyways, visit the smaller venue’s and engage with the likes of Kinematic – quality music, skilled musicians and an outstanding experience!
Did I mention a 5th Album? Yeah well it’s being worked on right now…so we know that’s coming BUT did you know Kinematic release a little something special for their fans in the week before Christmas?… I have it from the horse’s mouth (well actually the drummer’s) that this year’s surprise will drop on Kinematics’ Soundcloud page (find link below) on the 17th of December 2019 and it may appeal to those of you who are partial to the great Nick Cave….Shhhhhh, I’ve already said to much!!