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August 15, 2011 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Amnesty Antics

If you used the gelatinous photoreceptors embedded in your face last week, you may have noticed Amnesty International posters around campus.

Every year, Amnesty International at Vic celebrates Freedom Week, which concludes with a gig hosted by Bodega. This year also celebrated Amnesty’s 50th, with a stellar and eclectic line-up.

The gig began with a toast to freedom, before the chill Fraiser Ross whistled and trilled through songs “about the sort of love that would turn you into a dictator”. His style, akin to Liam Finn, held the crowd’s attention, before High Class Hobo Society got them dancing. Their rhythm section filled the room, but it was the contrast of the vocalists that held my attention.

Farmer Maori and the Maori Farmers’ operatic reggae was bizarre, but you had to commend them for trying something different. The name fits their kiwiana style, and they were certainly interesting. FM&TMF are a band to keep an eye on, to see if they can fully flesh out their unique sound.

Megalex’s set was definitely one of the highlights, the freestyle rapper laying down rhymes about oregano, Morrissey, and anything else the crowd could enunciate well enough for the flu-afflicted rapper to hear. Despite feeling unwell, Megalex rapped his hat off, and threw in a bit of break-dancing to show how unsick he was. There was no slurring in the Slur Tones performance, just slick, slick guitar playing and a cracking Strokes cover. The vocalist helped continue Salient’s seemingly institutionalised Doctor Who referencing by wearing Smith-like attire, again proving how cool bow-ties are.

The Eastern played last, going well past their intended set time, playing on despite heading to Christchurch early the next morning for the funeral of a recently departed friend, a number of band members already absent because of this. Their set was a writhing, wailing, beard-sweating organism of passion and beauty, with crooning vocals from a southern belle on the verge of swooning, and every note from the banjo a “big fuck you to Gerry Brownlee.” The Eastern played with the crowd, migrating to the centre of the floor for an acoustic set, and bringing audience members on stage to join them for their final songs.

Amnesty’s marathon and diverse concert clearly illustrated the connection between music, humanitarianism, and cake. I’m not sure whether it was heaps of sugar or if freedom actually has a taste, but the birthday cake provided free to the crowd was nearly as delicious as the right to vote you’ll practice in November, and worth the cover charge alone.

Amnesty at Vic set out to promote discourse whilst providing a kick-ass musical experience, and they more than delivered. You can count me in for their 51st, as well as the upcoming HCHS and Slur Tones gigs at Bodega.


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