Modality – Gig Review 23rd Sept @ Stay Gold, Melb VIC

Modality
Stay Gold, Melb VIC
September 23, 2022
Supports: Ultravlt, NTH RD and Everlyne

Winter is lingering into spring in Melbourne, the temperature at night still falling almost to single digits Celsius. But it is of no concern, as the sounds are hot and the company is warm within the cosy confines of Stay Gold this night.

Everlyne are a female-fronted heavy alt-rock four-piece from Melbourne (Naarm), and they kick off proceedings in fine and fiery style. Their opening tune is a heavy belter, and yet they display a deftness and a strong sense of dynamics across the course of their 30-minute set. This band is no bunch of one-dimensional plodders, their sound explores more accessible pop and pop-punk territory as well. The band plays nice and loud but the singer Mac Shay’s voice cuts through and soars above the electric noise very nicely indeed, just as her benevolently fierce and bouncy performance keeps the crows spellbound. And the best thing about them? Their songs are instantly and effortlessly catchy, getting inside the listener’s head from first experience, and they deliver it all with an exuberance that also permeates the psyche.

Time to leave pop city and head into heavy industrial grind territory, as NTH RD take the Stay Gold stage. Initially a very drum-heavy mix robs their sound of the aural and bottom-end crunch provided by a guitar and a bass, but things smooth and even out across their set and the overall mix improves. The drummer twats the crap out of his tubs, as he should, but learning to play with a little more dynamics, especially during the moodier sections, would not go astray at all.

While the overall tone of their sound is dark, heavy and grindy, this band exhibits a very welcome sense of melody and light and shade as well, with bludgeoning verses leading into soaring choruses, and the aforementioned moodier moments. Add in some vicious half-time breakdowns and an extroverted visual and aural performance (especially from frontman Jordan Kellaway) and you have yourself a very entertaining, multi-dimensional band that hits hard.

Ultravlt open with an acknowledgement of country, which is a very nice touch. They then lace into their own take on the female-fronted heavy alt-rock style. This band shares a few traits with the openers, but have their own thing going on at the same time, their sound just slightly gnarlier and a little less poppy (although no less catchy). What leaps out at you first is the pure passion with which frontwoman Sarah Jones sings and performs. She really does catch the eye and the ear, and the band locks in tightly behind her. If you look and listen a little more closely, the inventiveness of the guitar lines and the variety inherent in their sound (at times they even remind one of a band like Blondie) becomes apparent. Throw in a surprising but highly entertaining cover late in the set (Architect’s ‘Animals’), and you have yourself a pretty damn captivating show from an up-and-coming local act.

The venue is bathed in blue light as a very charged-up Modality take the stage. This band hasn’t been around for an overly long time, but it’s clear they’ve been working extremely hard on their sound, songs and stagecraft, as they come across like a pro touring rock act that has years and years on the road behind them. The band that the main members, frontman Nigel Jackson and bassist/vocalist Alicia Richards, have put around them is absolutely dead on the money, and the solid crowd that has shown up on this cool evening to witness this, the sophomore Fatal Empire EP launch, stand in awe of four masters of their respective crafts. However, while each member displays masterful technical skill on their instrument, the whole is still greater than the sum of its part, the band tighter than the fist of Mike Tyson in his prime and punching together just as hard.

Vocally, the band is a tour de force, Jackson singing and howling like his very life depends on it, and his trade-offs and harmonies with Richards are absolutely sweet. And you have to love a song where all the instruments stop and the singer screams, “FUCK THE SYSTEM!”

Then, late in the set, as an added bonus, Ben from Melbourne’s mighty Circles (who themselves rocked this venue a few weeks earlier) appears nonchalantly onstage with his guitar, rips out a blistering solo that melts every face in the place, and then disappears again. Now that’s what you call making an impact and not outstaying your welcome!

Another fabulous night of local music complete, we head back out into the cold Melbourne night with a warm feeling in our hearts.

Gig Review by Rod Whitfield

Header Photo by Michael Gow @alchemiglowmusic

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