Strange Talk at The Satellite
Strange Talk are in from Melbourne on a showcase tour, playing tonight at The Satellite (nee’ Spaceland) in Los Feliz, or Silverlake, or whichever one it is, I forget.
I interviewed Stephen Docker, the affable lead singer and keyboardist. Stephen is friendly and funny and genuinely interested in the inane questions I’m asking.
They’ve just released an EP on Neon Gold called, appropriately enough, Strange Talk, a few weeks ago in Australia. This is their first time in the U.S. after forming about a year and a half ago. They’d been to El Mirage, outside of Victorville, on a video shoot and decided to have a showcase. They’re doing a lot of writing on the road and planning to head back to Australia to record a follow up EP, with a possible record in 2012. They’ll be supporting Art vs. Science when back down under, doing some dates with Kele’ of Bloc Party. Next will be the bill for Parklife in September and October, and they’re hoping to return to the states to hit CMJ at the end of October.
Stephen’s gotten hit soundcheck with the rest of his bandmates so we shake and the heads off. The first thing I notice about this band that cites Michael Jackson, Toto and Freddie Mercury is that their sound, a bit of a mix of Cut Copy, Phoenix and Men at Work, amongst others, is way too big for this room. Their casually thrown off soundcheck is leagues above other well known bands’ full on shows. Stephen was actually dressed just like Michael Jackson, with a red jacket and black pants?
I’m wishing we’d thought to shoot live video of the soundcheck. The band is tight and relaxed, throwing off bits and pieces of songs as we watch. They disappear from the stage, as people start to shuffle inside, hitting the bar for cans of vile PBR and other, more palatable drinks. The hipsters are in full flux here.
Suddenly, we’re covered in sparkly, disco-ball stars, as the light show starts in earnest and the band comes out to some cheers and much indifference. But as soon as they throw out their first couple tracks, ‘Is It Real?’ and ‘Climbing Walls’, the crowd begins to notice there’s an actual band on stage, and they get into it. Docket’s got a very distinctive voice, hitting low notes and high yelps with equal success, and the band rolls out tight arrangements, always danceable, very high energy, very present. ‘Eskimo Boy’ is another highlight that gets the crowd moving even more than their previous sway had shown they could move.
Any complaints? A couple of the songs seemed to go nowhere, meandering with a dearth of hooks, but they always sound huge. I’d love to see them again after more writing and newer songs and a bigger venue. Regardless, Strange Talk is a band well worth checking out.