Date: January 22, 2013
Venue: Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
Acts: I Heart Hiroshima
Drummer Susie Patten warns those in the front that she may barf over her kit by the end of the night. She’s not drunk though. It’s nerves, she explains. It shows early on. Cameron Hawes strikes some bum notes on Listen; Patten’s vocals disappear into the ether at one point; Neutron Popsong never quite ignites properly. To me, pre-hiatus I Heart Hiroshima instrumentation never really was ragged, although, live, the trio often worked their butts off to deliver an edge-of-chaos impression.
This feels like the enthusiastic but messy flipside.
Not that the surprisingly (because it’s a “school night”) solid Alhambra crowd gives a damn. They’re overjoyed to have IHH on stage, and cheerfully indulge the three-piece time to find its feet.
It doesn’t take long to right the ship. Maybe it’s the slowdown of pace for River, but Hawes really nails that sequence of notes. They follow up with a great rendition of Old Tree (Somers: we’ve only played this live twice), then a couple of songs later Patten is prefacing Lungs (from memory) with a graphic tale about a long-ago Hip Hop night at The Zoo and an accident involving a vomiting drunk bloke and an industrial fan that led to Jaegerbombs being banned from the venue.
The nerves have evaporated.
The front rows are dancing along joyously and when Patten deliberately omits her chorus lines during Punks, the crowd instinctively fills the gap. The band is stoked. Ocean and Stop That follow, Patten wrestling with a kit that, by this point, is falling apart every 30 seconds. Yet, when the vocal mic falls out of its stand, she simply winds the lead round her neck and sings on with the mic nestled into her shoulder. Somers breaks not one, but two strings. They forge on. It’s hardly studio-perfect. But it is messily perfect. And that’s plenty fine.