GIG REVIEW: The Urban Sea, Star Pupil + Conspiracy of One, The Zoo, Brisbane, 25/07/2019

The Urban Sea

Words by Tracey Moyle.

Thursday night had The Zoo in The Valley buzzing with feel good vibes, when three of Brisbane most promising new bands held a triple header launch night with a new single and two new EP’s on the way.   The Urban Sea launched their self titled EP, Star Pupil also with a new self titled EP and Conspiracy of One with a single launch gave everyone something to look forward to no matter your musical preference, it was a treat for anyone and everyone.

Conspiracy of One opened the night with a brilliant set full of favourites, new songs and the launch of the new single Don’t Forget to Like. Conspiracy of One is the project of Nathan Eggins  self described as “Catchy witty songs about science, psychology and our modern world. Music to get you thinking on your feet” and is a favourite in the local music scene, evident by the crowd building early for tonight’s show.  Giving us a sometimes-satirical look at life and prompting subtle wake up calls in his lyrics Conspiracy of One has that Ben Folds meets Tim Minchin with a funky guitar feel. Tonight Nathan had a new dimension to his band adding an electric guitar to the line up, giving them a fuller more dynamic sound. Kicking off the night with a old favourite, See Food Diet, started things off with a sing along from his fans.   Following on with the funky bass driven Don’t Try This Mindset At Home had the room feeling the groove.

Another popular song and my favourite Just a Theory had the a bunch of happy music lovers dancing up front giving things a great big party vibe.  There was a heavy air of adoration in the crowd infused with a feeling of laid-back good times.  Those party vibes continued with a calling for audience participation in It Must Be True with everyone echoing the chorus “Would I lie to you”.  Some more funk rock feels with Carefree Culture next followed by Leave Behind Enemy Lines ringing out beautifully with Nathan now on acoustic guitar slowing the pace slightly only to pick up again in the chorus.  Moving into a brilliant cover of Long Train Running by The Doobie Brothers, with a friend joining the band on stage with his harmonica filling in the crucial parts of the song and bringing the crowd alive. Debuting a new song next with The Sound a Duck Makes had everyone joining in again with the actual sound a duck makes, keeping a fun, light tone to the night.  Finally the new single was launched with Nathan announcing his new release “Don’t Forget to Like  – A love song from social media to you”, prompting more crowd smiles and happy feels. A folky rock feel with a subtle message about thinking about what the online world knows about us.  This left fans smiling and looking around I saw lots of hugging happening.  An awesome friendly vibe brought on by yet another amazing upcoming Brisbane musician.  

When a screen goes up side of stage before Star Pupil come on stage, you have to wonder what these boys have in mind. The Simpsons Theme booms out over the sound system and a shadow appears behind the screen sitting casually drinking a beer.   Definitely in for something fun.  Three of the four band members come on stage and lead, Felix Lindgren begins Fried-Fish, with a quietly intriguing, almost ‘listen to my story’ start until the chorus gets close and  yells in your face.  These guys instantly bring up music memories from the 90’s in my head (my favourite era of music) particularly, flashbacks to the brilliant Perth band Ammonia are prominent in that “OMG they sound like….”  part of my brain.

Half way through the shadow from behind the curtains comes out picks up a guitar and joins in. Right On Mr Strong has a cheeky appeal with Lindgren winning the crowd with an indie rock dash of hick.   Lindgren keeps a good connection with the crowd and loves a chat, connecting famously with the crowd,  with a story about being told to work on his stage presence.  And he did with stage ‘presents’ throwing Chupa Chups to everyone in the crowd and taking them into Bittersweet. They had everyone jumping about the room, this song ironically reminding me of early Hoodoo Guru’s.  These guys have enveloped a wide range of 90’s indie, alt, grunge while keeping that authentic Aussie sound.  Everyone was in fun mode, on and off the stage, with Beauty Queen a Weezer –esqe feel.  

These guys were quickly winning over new fans.   Even when a string broke on Felix’s guitar this just prompted playful banter from the lead as he reflected on why he didn’t bring another guitar prompting some helpful mate appear from behind the stage with a replacement for the rest of the set.   A great cover of Cake’s Short Skirt/Long Jacket followed, then a tribute to a lost friend by Lindgren, solo on his guitar with an emotional cover of the Oasis song Don’t Look Back in Anger moving everyone in the room.   They captured a very You Am I feel with Lousy Dreamer again reflecting their 90’s music influences.  A fun song about Brisbane with Townie, if you could put QLD sunshine and lifestyle into a melody, this would be it.  

Finishing their set with Sally another reminder of those old Triple J Unearthed days with Australian Indie/Alt rock was at its peak.    I think I’ve found my new favourite Brisbane band.

The Urban sea  were last but, as they say, certainly not least.  With nine band members it was going to be a delicious feast for the senses. The Urban Sea blend their musical influences and styles across so many genres to give us something amazing and unique and a sound everyone can get into.  Playing around Brisbane for around four years, they’ve been through name changes and a few band members arriving at tonight’s line-up to bring out tonight’s brilliant musical extravaganza.  Their line up – Chris Macdonald on Vocals, Asabi E Goodman on backing vocals, Shanan Kilmer, Guitar, Casper Hall doubling up from Star Pupil on Drums, Charlie Dobell, Bass, Hayden Johns Keys, Ravi Shanghai on saxophone and for tonight’s show Curtis Sicilia on Trumpet and Antony Vissor on trombone.   

From R n B and Aussie Hip Hop to a jazz/rock/funk blend and blending a soul touching melodic sound these guys have it all covered. Opening their set with the smooth and melodic Aussie hip-hop sounding You and Me, a sweet start to the night.  The funky sounds of Diggin next then easing into something different again, a jazzy new song with Christmas Cards with a smooth groove supported strongly by the brass section.     Pulling it right back to a soothing ‘laid back Sunday’ feel with In the Sunshine, every instrument on stage coming together through the chorus evoking a carefree feeling with Macdonald’s smooth vocals.   Moving into Someday, with beautiful saxophone bringing out it’s sad song tones building a big all in finish.   They eased into the perfect blend of funk, pop and jazz sounds with Dopamine, a great song with a very Thirsty Merc feel.   Taking us into Move, using their musical entourage to bring their sound to it’s fullest potential with the peaks and lows of this tune.     Your Enemy had a great sing-a-long vibe full of great riffs and great reggae feels at the end. They had the crowd dancing along to the groovy beats.  Lots of smiles and hugs in the crowd setting the perfect example of how much music can effect an audience.  To be able to provoke an evident feeling of love and happiness through music is a brilliant result. A dig at baby boomer attitudes next with Your Generation, another new sound coming out in a psychedelic rock style.

A big finish with Underground Love by now they had the crowd in the palm of their skilled musical hands, again using their band to the fullest with a brilliant auditory attack on our senses.

Enthusiastic chants brought them back for an encore and they finished the night on a high with smiles all round on and off the stage.

Thursday night at The Zoo in Brisbane and yet another display of the diverse and brilliant talent we have peaking through and waving their hands in the air trying to grab the attention of music lovers everywhere.   There was something for everyone tonight. 

Get out and find the music.   You’ll feel the love and walk out with a smile.

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