"Choose your Own Adventure" books were big when I was a kid. They were easy and quick to read, which meant you could smash through them on the MS Read-a-thon. I guess I now realize that learning to cheat the system is lesson we all need to learn, but maybe not when you are 6 and trying to raise money for a debilitating illness. They featured multiple choice options at key plot points of the story. No matter which of these you chose, a coherent tale unfolded
Gyroscope are an Australian band that I have watched their tale unfold ( and tails at this one weird show where they dressed as the characters from Cats the Musical). Having first seen them back in my Uni days at the Barwon Heads pub, opening for late 90's Aussie Pop-Punk/Rappers 28 Days, they have gone on to be a regular must see on my gig fixture. At one point in 2004, I realized I had seen them 10 times in 9 months due to the nature of support slots they got with some other favourite bands of mine. I was chatting to Rob the drummer after one show and mentioned this. I think he was a mixture of flattered and scared- a unique expression probably only seen by stalkers confronting their object of attention.
When I heard about the Choose your Own Adventure Tour, where fans got the chance to vote on the set-list from their entire back catalogue, I locked in the date on my phone calendar (do people still buy the paper ones with shirtless,buff guys holding puppies?). The venue was to be Melbourne's iconic Corner Hotel. The sound is as clear as the urine from a hydrated baby weeing into a waterfall, and the venue is more rock than the colour black. Black was also the colour I dressed in that night not to be 'Rock' but more so to do with the Ninja "chores" I had to perform on the way home later.
I was quite into the Choose Your Own Adventure Set list idea and judging by the sellout, crowd a few others were too. I had a quick peek on SetList FM to see what they had been playing at other shows on the tour. By the time I took my spot on the floor in front of stage I wasn't sure if I was sweating from anticipation or the 110% humidity in the room.
The thing I have always loved about a Gyroscope show is the constant energy. They are one of those bands who play music like its a competitive sport. The guys seem to be genuinely great mates, and the audience clearly buys into this. The opened with "Driving for the Storm" from their first EP (which I got at that first gig) and it was on! Dan the front-man was resplendently dressed for the balmy weather sans-shirt (at one point someone handed him a kitten and took a photo for a calendar).He was also obviously in a rush that night as he forgot his shoes. Zoran the lead guitarist was noodling away on his axe, single-handedly fronting the campaign to bring headbands back into mainstream fashion, away from the bikies and pirates. Brad was bringing the Bass with an Afro that may or may not have been a by product of the humidity. Rob was smashing away at the drums like an octopus on Red Bull, but at one point I swear he nervously looked in my direction.
Gyroscope have matured into a really polished, confident and original sounding rock band. There is now a confidence and complexity to the music that only can develop over time, and I love following bands to witness this.
They continued to move rapidly through the singles and fan faves from the last 4 albums. By the time "Doctor, Doctor" was wheeled out, the crowd was eating out of their sweaty palms. The vibe at the end of that song felt like a set closer- but it was only half way. Other highlights for me included "Dream vs Scream", "Take this for Granted", "Snakeskin" and the ripper cover of Midnight Oil's "Bed's are Burning" during "Fast Girl" which set the crowd alight with patriotic pride. Unfortunately the now obscure "Fire Away" was left in their early, screamo-era closet. Its matching pair "Lesser Me" did make an appearance much to mine and 16 other peoples enjoyment. They chose to finish with "Safe Forever", which is my totes fave. The feeling of being caught up in a crowd sing along, house lights full up, band front man leaning over into the pit to capture the chorus is enough to melt the most cynical of hearts. I left on Friday knowing that it will be safe forever in my memory of Top 10 gigs.