The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
September 7th, 2018
Supports – Mestís & David Maxim Micic
Progressive music has certainly progressed (pun intended) over the past decade with guitar-based musicians embracing more elegant and happier melodies. The complexity and intricate details are still apparent, but it’s more common now for listeners and an audience to enjoy humming or singing along. Three of the world’s finest composers and guitarists brought their expertise and performances to Australia in a tour that recently begun at The Zoo, Brisbane.
Opening the night was Serbia’s harmonic master-mind, David Maxim Micic. Unfortunately arriving 1 hour before his performance meant jet-lag snaked its way into one or two brief moments; however, the thrill of seeing David for the first time in Australia made any imperfection acceptable. After his latest album release, Who Bit the Moon (2017), the Australian fans were especially restless to see and hear the delicately crafted songs Micic created. A distinct contrast was present between the studio and live versions, in a good way. Some finer embellishments were lost, but the volume, power and execution of his tone compensated and made the experience so immersive. Crowd favourites from his BILO album/EP series were featured alongside the new anthems like “Someone Else’s Hat,” “687,” and “Living Room.” Currently armed with his beautiful light mauve signature Wood Guerilla guitar, David is set to continue writing, perfecting and inventing his unique and heavily flavoured arsenal of music.
Some might know him from playing alongside Tosin Abasi and Matt Garstka in Animals As Leaders. Others might know him from a solo career under the name of Mestís. At this concert, Javier Reyes brought his music from Mestís to the stage on his incredibly crafted 8-string signature ESP. We were all lucky enough to see this performance on the day of his latest album being released, Eikasia. With both a Spanish and metal background, the music developed my Mestís covers an extraordinarily versatile range of techniques. Despite his extensive display of approaches to music (both with fingers and a pick), the set felt smooth and unified whilst maintaining his signature liquid-fast concepts. The heaviness was covered in songs like “Gentle Giant,” and the speedy, specific progressiveness was smashed in songs like “El Mestizo.” Considering the experience Reyes has in his years, it was to no surprise he calmly glided through the entire set. My mind is still attempting to comprehend how fingers can operate so accurately. Get along to one of his shows and try figure it out yourselves.
It came time for the man of the night to grace everyone’s now melted faces with his presence. Before I go into that, it’s worth noting that the backing band was beyond incredible. Not only did they play without fault, they played as the backing band for David, Mestís AND Plini. Learning the parts for just one of these guys would be hard enough!
Following the release of his latest EP, Sunhead, Plini took to the stage with its single track, “Salt + Charcoal”. Have a listen and you’ll understand what I mean when I say he’s concocted one of the finest blends of progressive approaches and happy melodies. Although the typical prog crowd stood relatively still analysing and appreciating, the smiles and faces of awe made it apparent how much effort has gone into these songs. All songs from his debut 2013 EP, Other Things, made it onto the set, satisfying the long-term fans and inspiring the new fans to dig deeper. Obviously Plini handled his parts without fault, but it wouldn’t be a complete set without some divine solos from the backing band. The title track of Other Things featured a one-of-a-kind bass solo and the drum solo found its way into “Selenium Forest.” It’s worth mentioning that the rhythmic display of insane speed and groove was done without any eye contact with the kit. Try that one kids.
The set was led on with some very casual and cool jokes from the Australian virtuoso. You’d expect a guitarist like that to be an introvert due to the years of bedroom shredding, but this guy was cracking up the crowd by simply chatting about making up jokes. All humour was put aside when the climax came forward during “Away.” Before the song ended, David Maxim Micic and Mestís were both invited back onto the stage for an improvised jam session. Here we saw the genius and character of each player in full works. Plini delivered his happy medium of smooth and fluid melodies, Mestís danced around all 8 strings with masterful precision and David swayed around the fret board in a variety of unique and slippery phrases. The night’s session guitarist Jake Howsam Lowe also took his own solos and dare I say reached picking and sweeping speeds beyond that of those he supported. It was by far the highlight of the night before they left the stage for Plini to deliver his encore of “Electric Sunrise.”
- Salt + Charcoal
- Handmade Cities
- Other Things
- Every Piece Matters
- Selenium Forest
- Away (including jam set with David and Mestís)
- Electric Sunrise (encore)
Review by: Kurt Boldy
Plini – Sunhead Australian Tour
Thursday 13th, Manning Bar, Sydney
Friday 14, Jive, Adelaide
Saturday 15, Corner Hotel, Melbourne