GIG REVIEW: CALIGULA'S HORSE, I BUILT THE SKY, MERCURY SKY (Factory Theatre, October 2017)
BANDS: Caligula's Horse, I Built The Sky, Mercury Sky VENUE: Factory Theatre, Sydney DATE: 6th October, 2017
It's a particularly sleepy evening in Sydney town, but at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville tonight there's a whole lot of sky and equine shenanigans in store with local alt-rockers Mercury Sky, Melbourne heaving instrumentalists I Built The Sky and Brissie prog behemoths Caligula's Horse.
Mercury Sky kick off the night with their distinctive brand of prog/metal/rock, serving up a solid set that covers some of their newer tunes from their recently released sophomore EP 'Infra'. It's all big hooks and huge sounds from this Sydney quintet, with a striking nod to the likes of The Mars Volta, particularly from vocalist Kay Thatch.
Next up Melb prog instrumental act I Built The Sky take to the stage and proceed to shred the walls and a portion of the parking lot outside with their scintillating techy tones. For a three-piece these boys produce an unholy amount of noise, but it's a seriously enjoyable and pleasantly boisterous set, driven largely by guitarist (and sole-permanent member) Rohan Stevenson's crushing riffs and tasteful melodies. There's a horde of light and shade throughout, and particular mention must go to Ro's scene-stealing bass player whose undulating head bangs are so fluid and hypnotic that he must either have a rubber band for a spine or else have the best physio in town.
And soon enough, just as the dust has settled after the first two acts, the stage is flooded with five gents clad in their finest head-to-toe black - yes, it's Brisbane's meteoric progsters Caligula's Horse and boy oh boy did they come to kick ass. The quintet's densely brooding and theatrically rousing tones have of late seen them go from strength to strength, with their recent album release 'In Contact' debuting in the ARIA Top 50. But despite all the recent successes, it's in a live setting that the band's technical ferocity and natural charisma leaps into hyperdrive - whether busting out a classic C-Horse barn-burner like 'Marigold' or newer material like the blazing 'Songs For No One', the group never falter with their potent and ambitious material. Frontman Jim Grey flits between billowing his transcendent vocals across the room and cheekily bantering with the crowd, while bassist Dave Couper tirelessly stomps through the bassline while throwing down some literal jaw-dropping harmonies. The entire band are a tenacious, well-oiled machine, with relentlessly expressive guitar work from Sam Vallen and new-comer Adrian Goleby and absorbing beats courtesy of Josh Griffin. But one of the most memorable standouts appears before the group's last hurrah, with Grey taking to the stage alone to blurt out a severely powerful spoken word piece ('Inertia And the Weapon On The Wall', taken from latest release 'In Contact') - it's a raw and riveting moment amid the riffage, and paints even more depth to an already innovative and captivating set.
It's a somewhat reserved crowd for the amount of power surging onstage the entire night, but it's a feast of truly spectacular local talent from three diverse and intriguing bands - and it bodes well for Australia's continued domination in the land of prog.
Mercury Sky: https://www.facebook.com/MercurySkyBand/
I Built The Sky: https://www.facebook.com/ibuiltthesky/
Caligula's Horse: https://www.facebook.com/caligulashorseband/
BY TIANA SPETER