Adelaide band Soda have recently been making their way around well-known and well-loved venues such as the Cranker, Rocket and the Exeter, and just joined the self-proclaimed ‘country boys’ of Loose Bricks (https://linktr.ee/loosebricks) on their ‘Inferno’ tour. Featuring Cameron Henschke on lead vocals, Jamie Carling on drums, Nevenko Sarunic on bass, and Nic Hutton on lead guitar and vocals, the band have been curating a comprehensive artistic vision across mediums of music, film and graphic design. Having teased snippets of film footage and cryptic excerpts of prose leading up to their single launch for Beautiful Anxiety,
I went into the night with high expectations, and was not left disappointed. As I climbed the stairs with its walls plastered with what has become almost a makeshift wallpaper of band flyers, I was presented with a 6 foot black and white poster of the band plastered to the wall. There is something about seeing the name of a band you have been following ‘up in lights,’ (even if the lights are only as bright as the dim fluorescence a small Adelaide nightclub on Hindley street can provide), that never ceases to be a little bit thrilling.
The night had not even begun but the room was already radiating energy. Merch was flying off the wall as people enthusiastically decked themselves out in Soda’s newly designed shirts, some changing in the middle of the bar as if their eagerness could not be contained long enough for a trip to the bathroom.
As soon as the band emerged on stage there was a perceptible surge forward from the crowd that had gradually been amassing through solid performances from Velvet Void and Divebar Youth. Right from the instrumental introduction the boys captured the attention of the crowd. We were in for a good night.
Soda’s sound cannot be easily defined. There were moments of swirling synth that were entwined seamlessly with more classic sounds of driving indie rock. Labels of psych-rock, art-rock and alt-rock would not be misplaced in attempting to describe them. Their unique blending of soundscapes was particularly evident in tracks such as ‘Slow March to the Grave,’ where the repeated ethereal vocal riff is juxtaposed with the sombre march feel that emerges both sound-wise and lyrically in the chorus.
In what felt like no time at all we arrived at the much anticipated single ‘Beautiful Anxiety.’ The opening of this song built the tension in the room almost unbearably as the spacious synths gave way to the driving drum beat. By this point the usual five guys you’ll find without fail at every gig were getting ready for a bit of push and shove, and as the sound erupted at the songs’ climax, so did the crowd with limbs a-flailing. The boys were giving it their all; accentuated by Cameron’s surprisingly controlled yells into the microphone amid lyrics detailing both the painful and beautiful moments of existence. The set ended with a brilliantly noisy instrumental outro. The instrumental ending to a set is one that I generally have mixed feelings on as it can very easily become unnecessarily elongated and result in a loss of connection with the audience. However, if done right it can be incredible, and this night it proved to be a powerful and raw ending to an excellent collection of songs. There is nothing better than seeing a band that is just so grateful to be there in that moment, and a crowd that feels exactly the same.
And then, it was over. The stage lights flicked off and the sounds of the speaker system resumed. But they were quickly silenced by the unrelenting cries for an encore. We did not have long to wait as the boys quickly resumed their places. The first song they played had a sentimental quality, having been prefaced as the first song the band wrote, with this gig marking almost a year since their first show. The quieter tone and introspective nature of the song marked a change of pace, but not of energy. The band made a perfect choice in their selection of their final song for the night, a cover of the eternally groovy Beatles track “Come Together.” No one was standing anywhere close to still by this point, and it was truly a great moment, as a room of strangers and friends who had literally ‘come together’ to be totally consumed by the sounds pouring through the speakers, danced and yelled the psychedelic lyrics. Even if some of us couldn’t quite remember words by the fourth verse, the sentiment was certainly there.
It feels as though everything Soda has been working on in the last year had been leading up to this show, and I’m so excited to see what unfolds as they continue to explore the limits of their artistic capabilities through their upcoming releases. You can get a taste of their one-of -a-kind live show experience at their upcoming gig, event details here (https://www.facebook.com/events/503868993758007/) and check out what else they’re up to here! (https://linktr.ee/sodabandofficial)
Photos by Danny Howe (https://www.dannyhowe.com/)
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