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Cub Scouts: Thurs, 28th March @ Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on April 5, 2013

With tickets at twelve dollars a head, any self respecting indie-pop fan in Brisbane last Thursday would have had to have been either very busy or very broke to have missed Cub Scouts’ performance at Black Bear Lodge. The lively five piece, however,  were not the only locals to appear and were joined by fellow Brisbane natives Major Leagues and RODEO. Running behind schedule, my mate Andrew and I were nervously checking the time as we got off the train at Fortitude Valley, RODEO, who was taking the first set, was due to kick off any minute and a heated FIFA 13 tourney had delayed our departure to the venue. Fortunately we arrived well before she kicked off.

To those unfamiliar with RODEO but recognise the name Susanna Patten, you’ll be glad to know that RODEO is the stage moniker of the former I Heart Hiroshima founding member. Susie’s stripped-back indie vocals which featured in IHH, have been combined with electronic beats to create RODEO and Thursday night was her first performance under this new persona in front of a home crowd.

There would undoubtedly be those who prefer Susie’s previous work in I Heart Hiroshima to the music she currently produces as RODEO,  myself included, and after seeing her performance I can safely say this isn’t likely to change. RODEO’s music peaks when vibrant vocals meet catchy beats, but these moments are infrequent and the vast majority of her music verges on mediocrity. The bass-driven “Love Street” was her most enjoyable song and a standout in a set plagued with overly loud electro that drowned out her voice. This might not have been an issue if the electronic tracks were anything but the repetitious, generic beats that they were; sadly this wasn’t the case and it was disappointing to have them overpower RODEO’s vocals which were enjoyable in the instances where they were audible.

After RODEO, Major Leagues were next to step up to the plate. Jake Knauth takes up the drums and the girls:  Vlada Edirippulige, Jaimee Fryer, and Anna Davidson, share the vocals and guitar across all three of them to produce a decidedly indie rock, almost surf pop sound, similar to that of Californian band: Best Coast. In fact I’ll go so far as to say that if you like them, you’ll definitely like Major Leagues.

As with RODEO the sound levels were mismatched and the guitar and drum components often drowned out the girl’s beautiful vocals which made their lyrics hard to distinguish in softer songs like “Teen Mums“. Thankfully it did little to detract from their performance as vocals were louder in upbeat songs like “Creeper” and even when the lyrics became inaudible the instrumental work was so brilliant it didn’t matter.

At about 9 o’clock Tim Nelson, Dan Puusaari, Sam Netterfield, Zoe Davis and Andrew ‘Peachy’ Williams of the Cub Scouts took to the stage for the final show of their Pool tour, which, as they announced, was their first ever sold out performance. The set swung into action with their recently released single: “Pool“, for which the tour was named. What followed was an even spread of previous works including personal favourite “Hands“, mixed with brand-new unreleased tracks. These newer tracks did not disappoint and brandished the catchy indie-pop sound we’ve come to know and love Cub Scouts for.

As a performance group the band is not only snappily dressed but wonderfully cohesive. Tim is a confident front man and regularly took the time to converse with the crowd, one particular insight he gave came before the band played “Told You So“, one of their bigger hits from 2012. He spoke of how the song was aimed at a former associate to the Cubbies who told the band in 2011, when they were just starting out, that ‘Evie’ was an ordinary song and the band shouldn’t play it. Well look at them now; I mean there’s something to be said for a band that does ‘Beyonce better than Beyonce’, as my friend Andrew remarked to me during the band’s Destiny Child Medley.  Giffo mentioned the band’s cover in his review way back in December and it was something my brother came back from Fall’s Festival raving about. Regardless of whether or not they eclipsed Beyonce, it can’t be denied that it was bloody entertaining. The Cub Scout’s then finished on a high with their debut single, the aforementioned song: “Evie“. I don’t care what the unnamed wanker said about your song Tim, I love it and I think it’s beautiful. The song is about a dog however, so if any readers were thinking about including it on their mixtape for the cute girl they obsess over, maybe think twice, or she might get the wrong impression.

Post show I reached out to Tim and Peachy and asked if we were likely to see any new releases in near future. Both boys informed me the band plans to bring out an EP in July before their first album later in the year. If the new songs they featured in their set are any indication of what is to come then 2013 is shaping up to be a great year musically for the Cub Scouts. For now the band is heading off to the UK in the coming weeks to perform at Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape festival as well as some side shows in May.

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