The cultural miserabilists who have spent the last few years loudly charting the supposed decline in the quality of both Sydney’s nightlife and Australian independent music were obviously far too busy burying their heads in the sand to catch Anatomy Class’ gig at the Oxford Arts Factory. As a showcase for the bands’ myriad of talents it was a truly impressive night, but more than that, it served as a reminder of the staggering potential that exists within Sydney’s alt rock scene.
But it wasn’t just Anatomy Class who wowed: both of the supports were genuinely impressive. Sydney based Sleepy kicked off the night with their distinctive hook-led brand of fuzzy grunge, powering through a short but focussed set. The un-ironically titled Taylor Swift proved to be the highlight of all the songs they played: emotive but never saccharine, the tune demanded the attention of the small but fascinated audience.
From there, Imperial Broads took over the reins, blasting out a powerful set of tunes that saw doo-wop pop and punk rock collide in increasingly fascinating ways. Very quickly their set took on the qualities of a medley, as blistering, bassy tune followed blistering, bassy tune and the growing audience began to lurch forward.
Imperial Broads share a drummer with Anatomy Class – the striking and accomplished Nick Kennedy – and so handover between the two bands was effortless. Commanding the stage as soon as they took to it, Anatomy Class belted out a powerful and emotive set, playing swiftly and with considerable skill. Though they kept the pace brisk they ensured that proceedings never descended into a vague, slapdash mess. They are a band who innately know when to slow things down – discovering the subtle beats of the show and exploring touching melody lines in the process – but never let it be said that they do not rock.
Indeed Thursday and Peter Sellers feature powerful hooks, and the escalating tension of the latter is as intoxicating as alternative rock of this kind comes. Both songs received a rapturous response from the audience, as the assembled crowd pushed closer to the stage and cheers rippled through the room.
The night finished on a high, with the band leaving the stage in the least flashy, most impressive way possible: they said a brief goodbye, churned out one more powerful tune, and then that was it. No fanfare; no artificial finale; no encore. Anatomy Class are not a band for bells and whistles, then. The conclusion of their show was simply a strikingly accomplished, perfectly natural way to finish a strikingly accomplished set.