Words by Katie Rowley
Despite an overcast afternoon at The Vic, there is no shortage of beer jugs and denim shorts on show for Australia/Invasion/Survival Day. Local bands Big White and FLOWERTRUCK provide the soundtrack to a loyal following of fans, who duly dance and sway to the jaunty guitar-heavy pop.
First on the bill is Big White, self-professed Australiana appreciators – appropriate for the eponymous day. Easy comparisons would look toward The Cure, but it’d be more appropriate to listen out for the influences of Aussie indie-rockers The Go Betweens. Each song starts seemingly disjointed and off-kilter, but the band has a knack for meshing together their brisk sounds. The three guitars at the front of stage add to the string-heavy fuzz, heard particularly on tracks like Tuesday where the vocals are spread around and the song crescendos to a pounding chant of ‘chooo-ooo-ooo-ooosDAY’
The band is soon to head off on an American tour, including a set at Austin’s SXSW, to promote their second album. Teenage Dream (not exactly of the Katy Perry sort) is the title track for the new collection and showcases the precision drumming and melodic guitar that we can continue to expect from Big White.
Dinosaur City, Crank Up displays lead singer Cody Munro Moore’s warbling vocals at their best, while his fellow guitarists nonchalantly sway on either side in panel caps and brown boots. The band’s jingly jangly guitar offers a good soundtrack for a pint at the pub with friends.
The next band to take stage are indeed friends of Big White. FLOWERTRUCK, who have been watching from the crowd begin their set just as the rain starts to spit with intent. It doesn’t seem to deter the dancers in the front row though, energetically flinging their limbs as the tempo lifts.
With homemade tees showing off the lead singer’s abs and stage banter so bad it’s good, FLOWERTRUCK up the ante. There’s strong bass and lots of variation in vocals, especially when keyboardist Sarah Sykes joins in to harmonise during their catchy choruses.
Bass player and guitar swap roles for the band’s breakout hit I Wanna Be With You; it’s a crowd favourite, proven by the bunch of blonde Bondi surfers who launch themselves on stage to dance along. The track shows the band’s potential, as breezy new-wave guitars jolly along under taunting wails about the frustrations of relationships.
Lead singer Charles Rushforth twists and turns throughout the set with hands pointing vaguely at the sky or grasping out for something just beyond the heads of the assembled crowd; his is an interesting voice to listen to, bellowing out the low notes whilst reaching for the high ones and just about getting them. It’s shouty and shabby but their back yard style goes down a treat with the dancing fans at a rainy Vic.