Manning Bar farewelled 2012 with a mixed legacy. On the one hand sat the underwhelming and tepid Snowball and on the other the much-celebrated Sydney Uni Band Comp, a battle royale of local talent whose alumni include Cloud Control and The Jezabels. With this in mind I ventured to Sydney ‘danceteria’ Good God to preview New Gods, a Melbourne-based outfit signed on for O-Week 2013’s ‘The Final Act – Band Night’
Though the show marked New Gods’ inaugural Sydney gig, it was hardly the band’s first rodeo. Dubbed an ‘indie supergroup’ the technicians behind New Gods’ ethereal, scenic sound are songwriter Dominic Byrne and guitarist Adrian Beltrame (Little Red), bassist Richard Bradbeer (Eagle & The Worm), drummer Sam Raines, and keys player Dale Packard (Ground Components).
The five-piece proved it could do more than deploy the same charming and emotive melodies, performing a plethora of material cut from their eponymous debut EP. Highlights included the Triple J darling By Your Side, the laconic Skipping Stone (Oblivion) and the off-the-record 1,000 Miles – dedicated to all those who endured a “rough up, bullshit 2012.”
Robby Magyar and Kristy Samal, 2013’s O-Week directors, discovered New Gods from the ashes of Little Red. After seeing their set at Good God both were certain the five would, “fit in well with the ‘chill out/rock out’ festival vibe” the pair were crafting for ‘The Final Act – Band Night.’ Robby Magyar said it was his desire to see the band, “revitalise what is traditionally the most under-attended night of O Week.”
A hugely enjoyable ‘chill out’ pick, New Gods’ hour-long set melted into a shimmering landscape of sound. Preferring lush tones and well-crafted vignettes to complex storytelling, their songs differed in shade rather than colour. It’s style over substance but in the best possible way – buttressed by a lack of pretension and inclusive, airtight instrumentation.
Good God Small Club proved to be an effective choice for their maiden headline gig. The room’s kitsch décor was matched by an eclectic crowd of ardent fans, casual supporters and buoyant passers-by. With a modest bar parked at its rear the place resembled a middle-sibling wedged between Sydney University’s two principal watering holes – more spacious than Hermann’s but dwarfed by Manning.
It’s the larger of the two establishments, Manning Bar, which will play host to New Gods alongside Professor, Lime Cordialeand Ball Park Music. Having stacked the deck with festival favourites, interstate acts, and local flavour, the O-Week directors are confident that ‘The Final Act – Band Night’ will amply reward attendees, marking “the start of a bangin’ new chapter in Manning gigs.”
The University of Sydney Union’s ‘The Final Act – Band Night’ is taking place on 1 March 2013 at Manning Bar, the last hurrah of this year’s O-Week.
Tickets are $15 for Access Card holders/$25 for general admission + booking fee.
For further details, check: http://manningbar.oztix.com.au/default.aspx?Event=31788