Art Vs Science @ TRAK 14/06/11

Every September the JD Set brings together some of Australia’s best musicians to cover a classic album or band. This year we got the see Art Vs Science cover the music of seminal Aussie rockers Icehouse, with some help from their friends.

It always feels a little unatural when brands jump on the live music bandwagon, even for Jack Daniels who have been at it for a long time. The staff encouraging you to have your photo taken with a drumkit, over the top advertising and the decsion to hold the gig in an Eastern suburbs nightclub were almost enough to have me jumping on the next tram to the Northcote Social Club.

Purple Sneakers DJs opened the night and with most of the signs around the place advertising Jack Daniels’ relationship with live music, it was dissapointing to see no smaller local bands sharing the stage with Art Vs Science. I can’t really comment on their DJ set. They played a mix of indie and top 40 tunes which seemed to go down well, but it just felt like background music to the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol.

Thankfully, all was forgiven once we actually got to see some live music.

Art Vs Science opened with Great Southern Land, a song most people would associate with Icehouse. They did the song justice with the beats and synths working suprisingly well. Tim Derricourt of Dappeled Cities fame was the first guest vocalist and the least known to the punters. His cover of I Can’t Help Myself went down well and there is no doubt he won himself some new fans.

Patience Hodgson was always going to be a highlight, and she didn’t dissapoint. Bouncing around on stage like a toddler who’s had too many energy drinks, she breathed a sense of fun into the night. Her cover of Crazy got some of the crowd moving along which was nice.

Kate Miller-Heidke has a gorgeous voice, but her slower numbers seemed lost on many memembers of the crowd who insisted on talking. Man of Colours sounded fantastic but it was Hey Little Girl that stole the first part of the set. The lack of percussion and atmospheric synths lent themselves to relealing the more sinister aspects of the song, all with Miller-Heidke’s angelic voice floating over the top. Brilliant.

Everyone got back onstage for a reindition of one of Icehouse’ s biggest hits Electric Blue. While Art Vs Science were flawless, especially thanks to a killer guitar solo, it felt a little bit like watching awkward karaoke.

Just when things started to go downhill, Iva Davis unexpectedly came onstage to perform Great Southern Land for the second time in the evening. While he may be looking a lot greyer than at the time of the song’s release, he’s still got it and put a few of tonight’s performances to shame.

We we then treated to an encore of Icehouse’s (or Flowers as they were then called) first hit, We Can Get Together with everyone up on stage. It was a wise decision to keep Iva Davis on lead vocal duties and the result was electrifying.

Overall, the night showed how many great songs Icehouse have released over years, with many of them still getting a flogging on certain radio stations. While the covers were a bit hit and miss, Kate Miller-Heidke and the last two songs made the trek to Toorak worth it.

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