The Shark Bar is virtually empty tonight, a maximum of twenty people lining the walls. The bar is empty and the couches vacant. A lone couple play pool in the corner. From the stage, a discordant wall of sound emerges from young Gold Coast band Electric Zebra. Despite having occasional sound and equipment problems, they work through a loose and sonically dense set of Pixies-influenced rock and roll songs. Strong melodies are woven through the noise, and the shambolic twin guitar attack and casual stage presence evokes the spirit of Pavement. The boys are clearly relishing the experience of supporting a band they admire; the fact that there is barely an audience to speak of doesn’t seem to bother them at all.
Vocalist / guitarist Keelan Sanders effortlessly guides the band from melodic guitar intros through to wild crescendos that crash and fall apart as their set dissipates into a sea of noise. It’s great to see a band with decent tunes not take themselves too seriously and have fun onstage.
Screamfeeder are one of the most enduring of the indie rock bands to emerge from the nineties era, outlasting most of their peers and continuing to release strong albums though out the years. 2017 sees the release of a new album and a national tour, so tonight is a chance to gain a glimpse of what’s in store from the band. The poor attendance doesn’t appear to faze them, they treat the
situation with good humour and essentially rehearse new and old material for the few of us lucky enough to be there.
After opening with Rocks on the Soul’s Above the Dove, new song Alone in a Crowd begins with a frenetic riff before slowing pace to a dreamlike vocal from Kellie Lloyd, older songs Around a Pole, Static and Domino follow, before the new Got a Feeling. A series of faster paced songs fly by, including the stomp of California and Take You Apart’s Bunny. New songs Shelter and Half Lies
(which switches up a gear mid verse) prove as good as the best of their back catalogue, as does the single Karen Trust Me which is the euphoric pop that the band seem to effortlessly excel at.
There’s something reliable about this band, the sound is distinctly their own – Dean Shwereb’s rollicking drumming and Lloyds solid bass lines underpin Steward’s melodic guitar playing and vocals (the sound being rounded out by second guitarist Darek Mudge). Kitten Lick’s Dead to the World and Dart follow, (the latter always proving to be three minutes of aural dopamine). Lastly is Stopless, Lloyd’s contemplative lyrics being coloured by guitar interplay and building into a wall of sound which draws the set to a close.
Tim sits at the merch stand afterwards and chats with the few fans who mill around. There’s something comforting about seeing and hearing Screamfeeder in 2017, a band that keeps on beating as the world around them changes. In a perfect world the place would be packed, but in this imperfect world it’s enough to hear those ecstatic melodies for an hour or so.