LIVE REVIEW: Super Wild Horses @ The Tote


Record rainfall in Melbourne and a leeky band room roof failed to dampen the mood as punters crammed into The Tote to officially launch Crosswords, the 2nd full length from local duo SUPER WILD HORSES.

The night kicked off with the playful surf rock of The Clits, and an energised set of guitar fury from The Living Eyes, each putting in a strong shift and making at least one new friend in the process.

As the headliners set up, a rising curiosity about the live projections of the 2 piece act took over but it soon became clear that far from a limitation, their numerical minimalism is made up for with heavy doses of melodic lo-fi charm.  There’s nothing overtly complex about the formula but when you’re this adept at churning out 2 and a half minute garage rock gems like these, there’s no reason to be.

Excellent lead single, ‘Alligator’ appeared surprisingly early in the set, summing up the no-fuss vibe of the night and ‘Memphis’, filling the room with it’s ominous, chugging riff also earnt highlight status.

In contrast to predecessor, Fifteen, the denser sound of Crosswords was given some fleshing out through the occasional guest joining the duo on stage.  McKee‘s partner, Rick Milovanovic from Twerps, brought his bass along and made a late cameo on a couple of tracks including Smokey Robinson cover, ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me.’

Midway through the set, the two up and swapped stations, Amy taking a seat behind the drums and Hayley slinging on her guitar.  Taking into account the shared vocal duties it emphasised the fluid, informality of their setup and versatility of the pair themselves as musicians.

As the clock ticked past midnight, Franz prompted the audience to sing Happy Birthday to her cohort with the aid of one of their helpers for the evening who’d briefly appeared on stage to provide some spacey electro flourishes.  It made the cosy setting of The Tote seem even more like a gathering of friends in a loungeroom.

As the end approached, the tropical themed stage decorations, greatly contrasting the monsoonal conditions outside, came into relevance with ‘Waikiki Romance.’ By the time they’d signed off soon after it had become plain to see why SUPER WILD HORSES now stand as one of not only Melbourne, but Australia’s most promising bands.

Words by Brad Davies