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Words – Tracey Moyle Music Maven
Photos – Alex Wright @alexwrightmedia

The Australian local music scene is brimming with a pool of understated talent, capable of challenging some of the more established artists of the day. Last Friday night, Brisbane’s Tomcat hosted three of these emerging bands – touring Sydney-siders Marvell with two brilliant local acts of Harley Mezsaros and Paper Lane in support.

Marvell have been on a run of performances lately, including the Winter Wine Festival alongside Icehouse, Ash Grunwald, and Alex Lloyd, The Gum Ball Festival, and a support slot with legends The Living End. But tonight, the band were focused solely on their Queensland fans and showing up for their brilliant supports.

And, watching these artists perform, further confirmed my belief that Aussie rockers are right up there with the world’s best.

The opening slot was given to Paper Lane and what an opening it was. They blew away the night’s early Tomcat arrivals from the first note with their opening track, a song so new they only wrote it a few days before the show – not that you could have guessed with the band playing as tight as ever. Frontwoman Taleena Peck captured everyone with her beautifully melodic warm tones, her vocals controlled and clear, even as you can feel a power simmering behind her delivery. Their rock sound wavered between indie, country and classic rock with massive guitar solos and a solid live performance. Paper Lane played through their set with a precision seen in the most seasoned acts. It’s not just about being good musicians, it’s about performing seamlessly together and loving it while you do.

From their newest track to their first single Better In My Head, Peck’s vocals have a depth that draw you in through the entire track, the band holding the tempo with precision. They play through the set with bass thumping, guitars bursting and Taleena putting her heart and soul into every track, her vocals clear and rich. A great cover of Catfish and the Bottlemen’s 7 led into the bands second single All The Best, a solid rock track building throughout the song. With a definite command this band are so tight there’s no doubt we’d found a band hopefully destined for much bigger things.

Following was Brisbane rockers Harley Meszaros. The band, named for their lead vocalist, plan to drop the ‘Meszaros’ going forward and simply be known as Harley.

Meszaros is no stranger to touring the music scene, previously lead guitarist with Brisbane rockers Dusty. The five piece were there ready to give the crowd a show with their melding of alt, indie and blues inspired rock. They open with Too Late and the keys rock the building, bringing a great versatility to their sound. Their single What Do I Know has a distinct Black Keys undertone, with a compelling edge brought in at the end, the song taken out with a massive Pink Floyd-esque guitar solo.

Take Me To The City exudes a stoner rock feel, with the subsequent Fallen bringing a distinct change of pace before they rock the venue with their 2021 single, Depths. The band have a dynamic sound that will draw you into each song wholly and completely.  Harley Meszaros had me thinking of a more rock fuelled Boy and Bear or, as mentioned The Black Keys. They are a band jam-packed with talented musicians and are well and truly ready for bigger things. Will definitely be back to see Harley in the future.

As the venue filled with punters out for some live music, Marvell moved onto the small stage ready to give Brisbane their best live show. As the crowd poured in, the previous band’s hung around filming and rocking to the headliner.

As Marvell kicked off their set the sound got bigger, the room was ready to rock. The band are named after brothers Max and Tom Marvell, with their dual vocals bringing a massive rock harmony to their sound. They have been compared to Kings of Leon many times but have more of a gravelly force behind the booming rock vocals. Diehard fans were in the crowd without a doubt, the ‘pub choir’ kicked in for their popular track Selfish You, a catchy AF rocker that (in an era more akin to CD’s or vinyl not algorithms) would have taken this band to the top of the charts. It’s no secret how hard it is for bands today to get that old-fashioned rock success. Supporting live local music is more important now than ever before.

Clean crips guitar and Max’s smooth vocals bring on the sexy and bluesy track, Shotgun. Tom comes in with his gravelly tones, with guitarist Jules, performing like it was a festival crowd. We hear stories throughout their lyrics. I Remember belts out with passion over the crowd. This track has a classic Eskimo Joe feel and the crowd are more than familiar with the song. 19 Homes has the room jumping, with its unique blend of toe tapping, folky kinda rock ( just listen to it, you’ll get what I mean). The crowd join in with the catchy steady beat of Brainwash and Thinking Again is funky as hell, the crowd singing along to this groove laden rock track. Jules leaves the stage, playing his guitar solo like a rock star in the crowd engaging the fans.

Tom banters with the crowd, both the fans and the boys in the band having a ball. They keep the popular tracks coming cruising into Beautiful Mind followed by I’ve Been Thinking and taking the set out with obvious fan favourite Come A Little Closer. The crowd cheers and break into song.

They finish the night with a Johnny Cash cover, the whole place breaking into the timeless classic, Folsom Prison Blues.

The country is exploding with dynamic rock bands, local acts as good as anyone you hear from constant international media. Friday night saw three East Coast acts that need to be exposed to the music-loving masses looking for some good old fashion rock and roll. Marvell, Harley Meszaros and Paper Lane could very well be the next generation of Aussie rock superstars, so follow, listen, stream, buy merch and get off your couch to go see these bands working hard, playing live and bringing out brilliant music.


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