Underground Lovers at The Northcote Social Club
There’s nothing better than witnessing an epic jam session, especially when it involves tambourines and maracas. Here at Vulture, more than just tambourines, we love music. And we love seeing people who love music, no matter how old you are, where you’re from or what you do. A big part of why 90s Melbourne band Underground Lovers are rad is because they embody this sentiment.
Vulture headed down to see the six-piece Indie rock group play a magical evening at the Northcote Social Club. The Social Club is, after all, such an magical, intimate venue – not so intimate that you can smell what your neighbor had for lunch – but intimate in the sense that it harbors that wonderful feeling of community that comes with Melbourne live music culture.
Underground Lovers in some way epitomize this culture. They’ve never achieved mainstream success per se, but three albums and an Australia-wide tour later, there’s still that solid fan base who wait with open arms to see them perform live.
There’s an elusive British counter culture slash American garage band vibe that has allowed Underground Lovers a degree of success overseas. It’s this ambiguous quality that is both frustrating and fascinating about the group and indeed their music when seeing them live. Do they play pop melodies or Indie ballads? It’s impossible to tell, yet you find yourself caught up in the music regardless.
This is a band whose name could not encapsulate their sound more. They’re subtly romantic with a touch of moroseness that seeps through the edges. A band that shares the spotlight of the lead singer, keyboardist Philippa Nihill steps up to the mic to sing ‘Corn’. It’s clear that the “human element” of music to which Dave Grohl referenced in his Grammys acceptance speech isn’t lost with these guys. Each member in the band flits between instruments; keyboard to bass to vocals, as comfortable on the next instrument as they were on the last.
Definitely ones to warm into their set, the psychedelic guitar riffs and rhythmic swaying of front man Vincent Giarusso festered with each song played, culminating into an orgy of tambourines and drum solos. Close your eyes and you could’ve been at the Manchester Free Trade Hall concert, except without Austin Powers and the bad bell-bottoms. The ever-changing kaleidoscopic graphics projected on a screen behind the band only added to the ‘give peace a chance’ vibe.
A fusion between 60s synth and 90s grunge, you’ll like this band if you’re a retro-file or live north of the Yarra.