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Live Reviews : 29 Bones, Ocelot Eclipse, Nuremberg Code, Lunar Deity @ Leadbeater Hotel, Melbourne 15/02/20

By on February 16, 2020

Message to heavy bands, local and otherwise: book more shows at this venue. It’s killer. I had never been here before, and it’s certainly not the best known band venue in this great musical city, but one look and one listen tells me that it’s actually one of the best rooms in Melbourne. The room is sizeable without being too cavernous and hard to fill, the stage is big, the light show is excellent, and the sound is as good as just about any pub venue.

Newcomers Lunar Deity begin proceedings, making the unusual decision to open with not one, but two covers. And two extraordinarily varied covers, Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Only When I Sleep by The Corrs, both of which they do an admirable job with, both of which they make their own. It’s interesting to hear the light and breezy Irish folk-pop anthem go metal. Then it’s into their originals, which can be best described as modern female-fronted heavy rock to metal with subtle progressive touches. Their musicianship is strong, their tunes employ some nice moods and dynamics, taking the listener through some unpredictable twists and turns, and in Jordana Baron they have themselves a potentially iconic metal frontwoman. Her clean/dirty tradeoff is just about spot on for what they’re trying to achieve, being around 80/20 respectively, so when they dirty comes, it’s really impactful. This band is just starting out on their journey, but there is massive potential here.

Things take a decidedly sharp turn to the left for The Nuremberg Code. This band is a two-piece, everything is programmed/sampled except for the drums and vocals, and their set truly is a wild ride. The overriding vibe of their sound is heavy, however they throw a whole bunch of weird and wacky stuff into the mix, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t just about all work a treat. There’s rapped vocals, metal growls, jazzy moments, all manner of electronic bumps, grinds and whistles, and even the I Dream of Jeannie theme music gets a run. It’s a highly enjoyable head-fuck.

When you have such a minimalist onstage setup, you’d better have your shit together, and this duo surely does. The drums are powerful and sometimes intricate and frontman Colton fills the stage himself, which is not an easy thing to achieve.

After a long wait, Ocelot Eclipse take the stage, and the sweet variety inherent in this bill continues. Their sound is unquestionably proggy, leaning more towards the rock end of the progressive spectrum, although they get heavy on occasion when the mood takes them. More often they present moody ambience, interspersed moments of fist-banging rock. This is apparently their first show in a year, and they do seem a little nervous/edgy, maybe even a little forced, initially. However, they warm into their set over the course of its 40 minute running time, becoming more comfortable and confident with every song, and ultimately get a nice flow going, and the nicely-building crowd seems to really appreciate their efforts. Their last tune is a real highlight, featuring an epic lead break over a very Zeppelin-esque riff.

Headliners 29 Bones bring things back to the straight and narrow, with their ballsy-arse, old-school rock to metal sound and huge vocals (indeed, cannonball frontman Brock Mountjoy sings and performs as if his very life depends on it, bulldozing his way skillfully through their 45 minute set). However, whilst this band’s songs are relatively uncomplicated in a rhythmic sense, much distinction comes from co-founding member Dianne Tabone, who provides rhythm guitar, soaring backing vocals and highly inventive keyboard lines that add sweet wash and ear-catching layers to the huge rock sound. It really does set them apart.

29 Bones are a relatively recently formed outfit, but their members feature much pedigree and know-how, and they have hit their stride nice and early in their career. They put on a huge show, and they are a must-see for people who love anthemic, fist-pumping heavy rock and roll with a twist.

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.