MT. CLEVEREST @ Jack Rabbit Slim’s gets 7.5/10

Mt. Cleverest @ Jack Rabbit Slim’s
w/ 506, King Ibis
Saturday, July 28, 2018


Mt. Cleverest have this subtle way of weaving diverse groups of people into an interconnected community that represents their audience base. It was the first thing I noticed when I walked into Jack Rabbit Slim’s on Saturday night. Although it could be seen as stereotypical to segregate the crowd into clothing profiles, it is an effective manner to understand the ‘reach’ a band has had with their music. With almost every stereotype present, it was a pretty good indicator that the launch of this local band’s EP, dubbed Money, had created some serious hype around the city.

Although the first supporting act, King Ibis have only released two tracks so far, they seemed completely natural on stage. The four-piece band’s latest single Concrete was definitely the highlight of their set as the dramatized halting of the storytelling lyrics through the chorus let the evocative unison the band has shine on through. With a coastal slow rock vibe, guitar plucking was followed by slow dragging strums to add a gentleness in their originals which reflected their overall stage personality. Nadine Burchell’s vocal ability easily matched, if not surpassed the talent from rising Australian artists such as Angie McMahon or the effervescent Meg Mac. Every now and then you’ll come across a band by accident that will absolutely floor you. This band did just that and set a fantastic tone for the rest of the evening with songs such as Boys and the soon to be released Reminiscing.

As a surprising second to this band, local hip hop artist 506 climbed onto stage to support next. With Mt. Cleverest’s frontman Christian Mechler supporting on guitar, the vivacious crowd merrily pushed towards the stage to dance along with the tracks. It was an impressive expose of well-produced original material that got the audience going in a way that didn’t wane for the remainder of the night.

I waited in anticipation to see how the crowd would react to the adjustment from hip hop once they started their set. The music they had released so far showed strong influences from British archetypes and I worried the mix-up of genres would leave the punters confused. As Mt. Cleverest took to the stage however, a roar ripped through the crowd and I sighed a breath of relief as they dived into their newest tracks. Songs such as Take It Back and Money combine the chord progressions of an indie punk piece with an Aussie hip hop lyrical delivery approach which reharmonized the overall gig. But as a five-piece guitar heavy band, some of the fast-paced lyrics did feel like they were stealing away from those gorgeous riffs. When These Nights played it slowed the set down, giving the opportunity to truly capture the raw talent of Christian Mechler’s grainy vocals or the ever-underrated bass. Finishing on Step Back, the last song on their EP, the evening felt like it ended too quickly as I yearned for more of this genre-breaking local band. The band has worked closely with local film maker, Dan Crivelli to create a short documentary series highlighting some of their finest moments during the creation of this EP which kept me sustained after the buzz from this gig. Part 1 can be found here.

Mixing genres in their supporting acts for their debut EP launch felt like a bit of a risk. As a live performance, I had reservations about how the genre changes would feel overall, but for this band, it really worked. The poised vocals, widescreen melodies and intricate musicianship that comes through on tracks such as Money tied the set together nicely and the crowd was incredibly responsive.


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