I WAS THERE | CRAYON FIELDS + TOTALLY MILD + THE GOON SAX @ HOWLER
Crayon Fields finally returning back with ten new songs in the form of No One Deserves You is a six year drought broken. Since 2009, front-man Geoffrey O’Connor has taken up his time carving out a personality as a reflective pop romancer, and O’Connor’s fantasies have easily bled their way into the Fields’ cannon; dominating their aesthetic with melting candles, smashed wine glasses and champagne popping song introductions. No One Deserves You and their album launch at Howler reminds then that while O’Connor can easily get by living the lifestyle we saw on Vanity is Forever and Fan Fiction, it’s while propelled by Neil Erenstrom’s drumming, Chris Hung’s guitar, and Brett Hudson’s bass that his high society musings are grounded by a weighty beat and powerful 80s guitar riffs.
They’re not alone though – the 14th saw Brisbane based Chapter Music discoveries The Goon Sax open alongside 2015 Melbourne faves Totally Mild. For The Goon Sax, it’s their first show playing in the city unless you count their set at the MPavillion earlier that day, and playing alongside two incredible bands like Crayon Fields and Totally Mild is quite the introduction for them. There’s a few moments of swapping guitars for basses between songs, false starts, Lewis complaints of sore wrists, and a friend from the crowd is called up on two separate occasions to provide harmonica and drumming assistance; quietly slinking back to his place amongst the onlookers once the job is done. They hold their own though, playing tracks off of their upcoming as of yet untitled album with an awkwardness made all the more endearing by the clear talent bubbling away within each of them.
Perhaps it did a disservice to Totally Mild that they’re in one of the more standard positions than either of the other bands – they’re neither just arriving nor returning from a long absence, making their set seem a little more ‘regular’ than the other two; but that’s probably my own fault for feeling that way. Personally, I’ve absolutely murdered my pressing of their fantastic album Down Time so this probably relates to the aforementioned ‘no surprises here’ feeling that permeates their performance. They play a set fairly similar to one they’ve been banging out for the past few months since their album dropped, and it goes over nicely.
Crayon Fields themselves ride through their set predominantly made up of songs from the new record with professionalism that matches well with their clean button downs and sterile pixelated visual projections. ‘Mirrorball’ and ‘All the Pleasures of The World’ make appearances, but honestly the focussed sheer cut pop of their newer material is unmistakably more worthwhile. If you’ve seen O’Connor play before you won’t be surprised to hear his moonlighting position as band comedian was out in force once again; coaxing the audience closer with rumours of a $50 he dropped in the front row – he’s actually a pretty hilarious guy so no harm done there anyway.
In our interview with O’Connor preceding the show the question was asked “where to from here?” – O’Connor didn’t exactly go in for it, they don’t do plans apparently; but hopefully in one form or another Crayon Fields stick around.
By Nicholas Kennedy