Gig Review: Dorsal Fins @ The Gasometer

What started as a side project of a few mates and successful Aussie musicians searching for a new sound ended up with Dorsal Fins. The new age supergroup is 10 members strong, founded by Liam McGorry from Saskwatch and Eagle & The Worm.    Their record Mind Renovation been stuck in our head for the past couple of months. We didn’t need to know much more, but as soon as they stepped on stage, the Melbourne band was a sort of alien coming from another planet. A mega talented alien.

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The biggest advantage of being a 10-piece band resides in the possibility to incorporate each member’s musical background in the mixture. It is difficult to think of a particular genre when it comes to describing Dorsal Fins’ sound. We thought it was a joke when we saw their influences on Triple J’s Unearthed website were Devo, Primal Scream and Liam Gallagher. This all began to make sense in their live set.

They started with the fairly slow track ‘Fell’, which perfectly demonstrated their combination of styles. A spacey song, led at first by Ella Thompson’s (Axolotl, The Bamboos) powerful voice and some loud, repetitive and nostalgic keyboard chords and finishing on a jazzier note thanks to the horns. They continued with the energetic ‘Mind Renovation’ and front man almost rapping the choruses.

They slowed the set down again with the multi-layered ‘Escape me’, turning the set into a kind of growing orchestra. Jacky Winter (who was also the support) joined the stage afterwards for the more rock track, ‘Cut the Wire’.

They ticked the ‘cover’ box by transforming Kate Ceberano’s famous ‘Pash’. Finally, they kept two of our favourites for the end: ‘Monday, Tuesday’ and ‘Sun & Stars’. Their high energy level and catchy songs kept the crowd buzzing.

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What we remember most from the gig is Dorsal Fins’ ability to take complete advantage of their band size and therefore, the many instruments they can play. The musicians were switching gear; from guitars to saxophones. Their approach to music is really genuine and interesting. It sometimes gives the impression of being a big messy bowl of ingredients where they can all put their own flavour in to create a masterpiece.

The alternation between slow and energetic songs was a bit too strict which cut the fluidity of the set, especially during the first part of the gig. However, the two lead singers joined their voices perfectly, creating cohesion and harmony.

Dorsal Fins are definitely a creative band and we can’t recommend their first album Mind Renovation enough. They won’t be playing again for a while, so it can keep you going until they return.

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Matea Pichet

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