It was a baking hot Thursday afternoon. One of those days where one beer hits you like you have downed multiple, and you end up somewhere between suffering heat exhaustion and being drunk. This is exactly how my afternoon was spent in the lead up to the opening night of Shimmerlands. My excitement levels were high as I was eager to see New York’s finest in Parquet Courts, as well as the three local bands and the brand new venue that was to play host.
Shimmerlands is located at Melbourne University in Parkville in conjunction with the creators of the Shadow Electric. Thursday January 5th was the opening night, and featured the remarkable line up of local legends Terry, the synth/punk groove of Ausmuteants, the garage rock of Tyrannamen and headliners Parquet Courts.
The evening kicked off with the sun going down and Terry taking to the stage. The first thing that struck me about Shimmerlands was the impressive setting. The trees around the courtyard gave the venue a great natural barrier, as well as providing shade in the early part of the evening. But what was most impressive was the backdrop. Located in the heart of Melbourne Uni, it is hard not to be slightly awe-struck by the incredibly old and beautiful buildings. It felt somewhat European as I was gazing up at the stage with the huge pillars in the background.
Terry kicked things off in usual Terry style – great banter and great tunes. They were late additions to the line up and seemed to play their set with a laid back air around them. Taking a request from the crowd, using an empty cider bottle as a slide for guitar and playing songs of their amazing debut album ‘Terry HQ’, there seems to be nothing this talented troupe can’t do. It would be easy to imagine in an alternate universe that Terry would be headlining a show at New York University.
Ausmuteants took the stage next and delivered a great set that highlighted their infectious synth grooves overlayed with their punk snarl. A perfect way to transition from the more laid back vibes of Terry before the garage rock of Tyrannamen hit the stage.
After brilliant sets by each of the opening acts, Parquet Courts appeared in front of a packed crowd and to rapturous applause. It is no secret that the band is well liked in Melbourne, and they seemed genuinely stoked with the crowd. Guitarist/Singer Austin Brown summed it up with “this is really cool, that’s a direct quote”.
Not only were they jovial, they were on top form and delivered a brilliant set that covered most of their back catalogue. Captive Of The Sun, Master Of My Craft, One Man No City and Light Up Gold II were stand outs in a set full of highlights. There were moments of noise, moments of harmony, extended jams with feedback echoing through the night air, and many moments to be remembered.
It seemed as though Shimmerlands hit the jackpot with this opening night. The bands, the crowd, the venue and the weather were all outstanding. The team from the Shadow Electric, who provided such a great service over previous summers at the Abbotsford Convent have once again nailed it with this new setting. For those unlucky to miss the evening, it was all broadcast on Triple R, and you can listen back on their website.
With an exciting program that spans the next two months and includes live music, an outdoor cinema as well as some great food offerings and an outdoor bar, Shimmerlands is not to be missed.
All Image Credit: William Hung