With so much music out there on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and every other streaming service, bands and punters can get a bit obsessed with defining the particular sound of an artist; sometimes it’s as if this is the most important thing. Is something retro-garage-electro-funk or is it industrial-postfolk-fuzz-soul?
But Dallas Frasca is just pure rock’n’roll and it’s a beautiful thing.
In fact, this is the best band in the country right now. The power trio are all swagger and adrenaline, and they put on one hell of a show in the underground space of Pirie & Co on Friday night.
Filthy Lucre kicked the evening off and suitably amped everyone up with a set of their dirty blues. Featuring what might very well be the happiest drummer in the world (Ed Noble), Filthy Lucre have a way of making you sit up and listen; these guys are not background music. Perhaps it’s Ed’s energy, maybe it’s Luke Marsh’s smooth, bluesy voice and cigar box guitar. Either way, this two-piece are infectious, addictive and positively hallucinogenic.
Silent Duck followed up with an irreverent set of funk tunes that was enthusiastically received, the six-piece really got the crowd up on their feet. With sweet horns, sexy grooves and a cheeky sense of humour, their set was a whole lot of fun and a great warm up on a winter’s night.
The main act began as wild, bearded guitarist Jeff Curran jumped on stage with drummer Josh Eales pushing out an incendiary burst of sound to announce singer/guitarist front-woman Dallas Frasca, who immediately took charge of the venue. Her rich, soulful voice faultlessly complemented the pacey blues riffs and powerhouse rhythms being belted out by the other two.
With genuine presence, the outfit’s onstage connection works perfectly, feeding off each other and the energy in the room. You get the feeling that no two Dallas Frasca gigs are exactly alike, although they would all be well worth experiencing.
And indeed it’s an “experience” in the true sense of the word, as any good performance should be. Above everything, these guys understand that, more than recreating the tracks that have been laid down in the studio, it’s all about connecting with the audience in a tangible way. Their mix of high energy and crowd rapport bring to mind Midnight Oil in their pub-rock prime (not to mention the occasion political theme in the song-writing). It should come as no surprise that Dallas once fronted the Oils at a charity gig, one of the very few people you’d imagine capably filling the charismatic shoes of Peter Garrett.
A fractured skull injury, the result of a crowd surfing mishap at a Queensland festival earlier in the week, and a nasty head cold, did nothing to slow Dallas down on Friday night. She urged people forward to fill any gaps on the dance floor and soak up the full live experience. Moving into the crowd, she offered the microphone around before going to the back of the room to find people to dance on stage. Next she jumped to the floor and got us all crouching down, telling us to be in the moment and put the phones away for a change. At every move the band followed her lead, many of the numbers turning to visceral jams.
The set highlighted tracks from the recently released Love Army album, with ‘You Are Beautiful’, ‘Today’ and ‘Success Is the Best Revenge’ all taking on a new energy in live performance. To the delight of long-time fans, there were also considerable contributions from previous album, Sound Painter, including an extended, communal rendering of ‘All My Love’ to close the night. In true rock’n’roll style, Jeff leapt atop the kick drum while furiously belting out the final chord on his upside-down Flying V while the trio trashed the kit.
With a monster sound that comes right out of the Led Zeppelin II playbook, the subterranean Pirie & Co space did struggle, at times, to hold all that volume (somewhat amazing for a band without a bass player). They next play here at The Gov in August, which might suit a little better, when they support US rockers, The Bellrays.
Dallas Frasca presents a pretty simple equation: get out and see this band anytime they are in town. You don’t want to miss a rock’n’roll experience like this one.
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor and Libby Parker
Photos lifted from Dallas Frasca’s Facebook page apart from the one of Jeff, which was taken in the rare moment the reviewer wasn’t rocking out to the music.