– by Michelle Yeong
After taking a bit of time off to work on a sophomore LP, Brisbane outfit Last Dinosaurs returned to Amplifier Bar, with supporting bands I Know Leopard and Braves, to present their catchy new single ‘Evie’ to an adoring crowd.
What started out as a horrid night involving wet weather and out of the blue train interruptions, certainly turned around with the presence of local surf-heroes Braves. The four-piece were charming from the strum of their first fuzzy chord, kicking things off with instrumental jam ‘First Train To Squaresville’ which nicely flowed into upbeat track ‘I Don’t Surf’. Well-harmonized vocals, coupled with undeniably catchy lyrics and astute guitar hooks steadily drew the crowd towards the stage. In no short time, Braves’ lo-fi beachy tunes had won over the crowd as evidenced through sing-alongs and enthusiastic dancing. And it didn’t matter if your dance moves were as bad as Elaine Benes’, because everyone (including those who weren’t wearing a Braves T-shirt) was jumping around and swaying with their mates.
To continue the amped up vibe created by Braves, the Sydney group I Know Leopard took the stage shortly after. Without warning, a powerful synth reverberated through the crowd, creating an ethereal ambience. Each of their seventies inspired tunes was topped off with a smooth violin melody that made the band all the more likeable. Highlight of the set was when the group went old school and performed their dreamy rendition of TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’ – the classic RnB jam left the crowd on a high, setting the scene for Last Dinosaurs.
As the theme song to Law & Order casually blasted from the speakers, the crowd was well aware of what was about to happen. Enthusiastic screams beamed from the packed floor as the indie-pop Brisbanites made their way across the empty stage. After a few friendly smiles passed between the band and the crowd, Last Dinosaurs confidently launched into ‘Weekend’. Having not seen the quartet since 2013, I can say with good authority that their music has reached a new level. The sound was bright and unblemished, the vocals were precise, and the guitars were swimming in slick riffs and blissful summery nostalgia. Some of the new disco-pop tracks off their unreleased second LP was introduced to the crowd early on in the set, one of them being ‘Apollo’ where front man Sean Caskey revealed how The Matrix “blue pill/red pill” scene was the influence for this track. If the crowd wasn’t already in a dance frenzy, they definitely were during their surprising funky mash up of ABC’s ‘Poison Arrow’ and Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’.
Momentum picked up towards the end of the set when the echoey guitar riff of ‘Honolulu’ filled the room. New single ‘Evie’ followed up nicely. Unlike their old material, this track had more of a prominent synth melody paired with their classic clean guitar tones. Seemingly, the entire audience already knew the lyrics to the anthemic track. The set finished up nicely with crowd favourite ‘Zoom,’ but being a crazy dinosaurs fan and all – I knew that it couldn’t end there. With loud encouragement from the crowd, the quartet made their way back onto the stage to do an encore. It was a toss up between ‘Time & Place’ and ‘Andy’, but after the intro to Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was jokingly played, it was made clear that ‘Andy’ was the song of choice and the night ended perfectly with a bold stage dive from Caskey.
Last Dinosaurs were able to bring a heavier sound to their live performance and reassured that even after all these years, guitar driven alt-pop hasn’t died. But is in fact getting better and better.
Photo Credit: Matthew Picken