Goodshirt and Tom Lark+Little Bark / San Francisco Bath House 23 June 2011
“It’s been F-ing ages and I miss you a lot”, shouts Rod Fisher. He might be a daddy now, but he’s still got that boyish energy and quirky geek-rock star aesthetic. And tonight he’s looking pretty relaxed, as he addresses the slightly undernourished but appreciative crowd. I’d wondered if such a band could have pulled in a few more punters given their good name and mainstream popularity. However, I was reminded by a friend that not only has it been 6 years since their last major public exposure but it’s likely some of the audience have got married, had kids and are probably struggling to find cheap, reliable babysitters.
Kicking off with “Blowing Dirt”, from their 2001 debut, Fisher (vocals & guitar), brother Murray (guitar), Gareth Thomas, (keys guitar & vocals), Mike Beehre (drums) looked like they were enjoying themselves as they Meandered through about 15 3 minute pop wonders. They chalked up the biggies like “Sophie” “Green” and “Buck it up” pretty early, whilst clustering up the new songs “Out of Our League”, “We Won’t Tire”, “I Can’t Drive”, “So Shook Up” , somewhere near the middle. Most noticeable was single “Charming”, mainly because of the familiar grooves and branded chorus. The new product was dropping in so seamlessly I barely noticed the gear changes, especially with the inter-weave of Thomas’s space age keys peppering various tracks. The bantering and crowd interaction had a classic Kiwi tinge to it, with Fisher cajoling the bar staff to refresh his glass with “Beer and tequila” and hassling his bro: “You got all the words right in the bass part!” To prove this band never really takes themselves seriously Fisher covers his mid air tune ups with a quick crowd participation of Suzanne Vega’s “Toms Diner” before launching into a stonking version of Sierra Leone.
However, MVP has to go Christchurch’s Tom Lark + Little Bark, who knock out some near perfect little indie numbers including the tweaky “All Night Long” and “Tea Sets”. Sporting a 70s porn-star mo and flowing locks Lark has a shy kind of Burt Reynolds stage presence, similar to Lawrence Arabia. He plays with his toys on stage, changing his voice to make it sweet and luscious. He’s after a nana’s lounge chair effect, perhaps. In the front row a line of youthful females hang on every word as his lyrics drip honey to the stage floor. If the earthquakes don’t shake the rest of his studio down, Lark’s bedroom tune-smithery could be worth a rematch. We hope see him back again.