NOAH DILLON @ The Grace Darling Hotel gets 7/10

Noah Dillon @ The Grace Darling Hotel, Collingwood, VIC
w/ Hackitt, Perfect Whip

Friday, October 11, 2019


Ah, the Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood. Where the edgy and unique line the smoker’s sections in tight groups, a survival technique to face the biting cold of a Melbourne afternoon. A three-level building, a dormant giant whose aesthetics felt reminiscent to what a Viking’s hallows might have looked like. All dark shadows and big tables with big columns and exposed woods and the placement of a carpet that had been covered in beer and left to sit. Yet the smell lingered providing a reassuring comfort. It was the kind of bar that would have felt just as home in the middle of the outback as it did on Smith Street, aside from the lush open dining area which included cascading plant features, and the clientele of course. And the DJ off the main bar. And the security guards, I guess. But in essence, it could have been The Flying Scotsman in Mount Lawley or The Premier Hotel in Albany. It had the essence of a bar that could have been considered a second home.

The first band room was downstairs to the left, hidden by a giant window of assorted glass panes. The second room (upstairs) was intimately lit with a trail of white candles. A brunette with a curly bob haircut awaited the top of the stairs, perched next to a table that stood in front of a heavy light blue iron door. Behind the door was our band, the Perth locals Noah Dillon, our champions, who were touring their debut EP Everything Melts tonight in Melbourne. I felt quite parochial heading into the gig, being a Perth native, like I was this cosmic mystical ring-leader in a marching band with my mates from Melbourne on a journey into a showcase of the talent my state, WA could offer. My attitude could have been described as, ahem, fucking delighted.


Hackitt was first, and hack it was absolutely what they did. The two-piece cast the small stage with an energy that felt like an extra-terrestrial overlord that was coming to take planet earth prisoner. Angry, aggressive, confident and unfortunately terrible to listen to. The lead singer/guitarist worked a ‘heavy metal’ vocal snarl into a narrative the keyboard created. It was two worlds and two sounds crashing too loudly. It would be great to see the addition of another member in the band. Someone to act like the moon and keep the earth moving with its gravitational pull as it orbits around the sun. Or in laymen’s terms, a mediator to balance or fine-tune that sound into usable content for wider audiences.

Perfect Whip

Perfect Whip followed soon after, which in a delightful twist, took the best parts of Hotel California by the Eagles and married it with the Gorillaz vocal style best displayed in The Fire Coming Out of The Monkey’s Head. It was strong storytelling in factual tones with descriptive words and an extensive chord progression to support it. Level 9 was brassy with a crisp bass journey that was moody and textual. Captivated by the story alone, the punters gripped the edge of the stage to watch the unravelling of a thriller live. Although their live stage presence didn’t add to the theatrical aspect of songs like Stank Eye, it almost reaffirmed their position to create a thriller in musical narratives using music as a tool for texture. Most certainly a crowd favourite, Level 9 was stuck in my head for a week.

Noah Dillon

It was 10.30 when Noah Dillon gripped the stage. By this point, a semi-circle of punters stood around, all at least a metre and a half away from where the band stood. It was an odd arrangement with a uniform style black dress code and beanies alike. Dillon himself stood with his messy surfy hair as they introduced the set with the track Don’t Act Like You Know Me. Crowd favourite Holding On followed soon after.

What you see with Dillon and his band together is a fucking organic algorithm for pumping out high-quality tracks without compromise. You take Dillon’s ability to shape life learnings into heartbreaking lyrical content and a band that amplifies and nurtures his vision by being talented in their own right. There were many moments where the band stood still for an intro, then escalated a track, showing a maturity in their craft that is hard to envision for such a young group.


Noah Dillon

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