|KIRIN J. CALLINAN|
Quarrell’s Lost Animal project came out of record writing hibernation mere weeks ago, and this is one of his first shows back in the game. From beneath a dense mane, clad in denim and a beer-streaked pink shirt, Quarrell debuted new tracks from upcoming LP ‘You Yang’ alongside choice selections from 2011’s stunning ‘Ex Tropical’. From this encounter it’s clear that the production and quality of the fresh stuff is carrying on the fine form of his debut. Accompanied by a Macbook and a keyboard, Quarrel spends most of the set entangled with his microphone, eyes jammed shut and body lilting while the backing track thumps along. When he does open his eyes there’s a dangerous magnetism to the man that renders him an intriguing and bizarre character. Stay tuned.
Beginning with seldom-aired ‘Hurtsville’ opener ‘Beautiful Sound’ from behind the red stage curtain, Ladder’s cohort instantly take control of the room with their supreme control of atmosphere. The all-star band once again assuring us that the sum of their parts is capable of formidable heights. Ladder towers over proceeding in a black blazer and bolo tie, flanked by cherry-jacketed bass maestro Donny Benet and guitar fiend Kirin Callinan in '80s Pete Townshend chic. Laurence Pike and Neal Sutherland complete the outfit that dips generously into their 2011 and 2014 releases.
Hearing so many of the ‘Hurstville’ tracks mixed in with the ‘Playmates’ material was a real treat, and the band were in playful humour throughout the lengthy engagement. Singles ‘Come On Back This Way’ and ‘Her Hands’ were dropped early, breaking the crowd in effortlessly for the energetic squall of ‘Reputation Amputation’ and ‘Neon Blue’, two tracks that jokingly completed “the evening’s nu-metal” phase.
The action was hot and the band came to play, delivering their most definitive set to date.
Ladder’s banter has eased over the years to an amicable dialogue between friends. He proudly introduces ‘3 Stomachs/No Weekend’ as his favourite song to play, informing us that he recently learned cows have four stomachs contrary to his previous assumptions. ‘Dumb Love’ is as spellbinding as I imagined, and ‘Cold Feet’ brings a shiver through the room. A briefly staged interlude separates the main set from an encore that begins with a rendition of older tune ‘You Won’t Be Forgotten When You Leave’ featuring a deft performance by Benet on fretless bass. This is followed with a powerhouse rendition of the ‘Hurtsville’ title track and the chaotic ‘Barber's Son’ in which Callinan literally strips his throttled guitar of four strings during the furious climax.
Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders do tender, heartfelt, mood and humour like no-one else on the scene right now as they continue to move from strength to strength. I don’t know how long this incarnation of the band will be on the ‘Playmates’ album cycle, so don’t waste any time in heading out to see them. If they pull into your town, save the date.