Originally published 28 September 2010

Love & Theft Records Showcase

While most of Melbourne spent Friday night stocking up on beer and sausages, those with the will to get through that last day in September, bleary-eyed and hung over, may have caught the Love & Theft Records Showcase at Yah Yah’s.

The Revels

The Revels brought the garage to the stage with a catalogue of anthems culled from the best moments of adolescence. If they remade the Wonder Years now, the Revels’ rollicking concoction of bluesy psych-pop could easily be the soundtrack to Kevin’s quest for experience. After relying mostly on material from their EP World on Time, the boys finished off with the 13th Floor Elevators’ You’re Gonna Miss Me, the best song simply because of how much fun they had playing it.

When Damon Smith & the Quality Lightweights took to the stage, it was time to forget those memories of youth and soothe your older soul with a more assured, thoughtful sound. Smith is so comfortable on stage that you’d think he was born on one, and his smoky baritone is the perfect accompaniment to his ballsy alt-country folk-rock. Apart from succinct, honest lyrics, the music is gifted with a sense of grandeur and prophecy, as if life may be some lawless western outpost and Smith has wandered in from the desert to save us through song.

Damon Smith & The Quality Lightweights

Demonstrating the breadth of Love & Theft’s catalogue, the Polites birthed the bastard son of Hendrix and the Heartbreakers. Soaring riffs grinded out between bouts of observant, trickling melodies borrowed from sixties psychedelia, with their jaunty, rolling sound perfectly suited to the opening of a Tarantino film. While the band had a pick-n-mix sense of fashion style, their performance left no question of their togetherness.

Rounding out the night was Dynamo, who brought bombast and bravado to a stage they crammed with brass. Alex Gionfriddo was the most charismatic of front men on the night, and had the crowd in an ecstatic frenzy by the time the last tram rolled by.

Unlike the football, the Love & Theft Records Showcase won’t be replayed this weekend. But since Melbourne’s other fanatical following is live music, you’ll probably be lucky enough to catch these bands around town. Keep your eyes peeled.