This is a service announcement for all those who like to stay well ahead of the game. Keep your eyes and ears out for Go Mason Go, a Sydney quintet with a promising future ahead.
The boys, all of whom are aged 16 or under, won the Red Bull Backyard Jam 2012 challenge at the weekend, kickstarting them on what I believe will be a fruitful career.
The group battled it out against four other bands; Let's Not Pretend, Break A Leg, Your Ticket Home and Masketta Fall.
Standing out as a unique blend of Tame Impala-esque psych rock and straight up indie pop, the band clearly possessed something special. In contrast to the overwhelming number of punk-pop bands, Go Mason Go were a breath of fresh air during the day.
The show was held in the backyard of Masketta Fall, who won the right to host the 300-person gig. The outer-outer Melbourne location was undisclosed, but the neighbours would have had a fair idea that something pretty big was going on as Red Bull and Channel [V] took over the sleepy suburban street.
The massive backyard was overrun with crazy teenage fans, an enormous amount of Red Bull signage and the feeling of being at one of the smaller stages at a music festival.
All the contestants in the competition had to be aged between 15 and 21 and the youth of the bands shone through all their 15-minute sets. As such, the calibre of songwriting and performance was taken with a grain of salt – these guys were kids doing their best in a high-pressure situation.
As the day progressed, the bands got better but the vocals remained steadily untrained and off-key. The instrumentation, however, was generally of a really high quality and I was impressed by the inventiveness of the bands in their chord progressions and composition.
By the time Go Mason Go graced the stage, though, I was ready for something new. I'd heard band after band with heavy, chugging guitars, bratty vocals and prog-style rhythm changes and I was starting to believe that varied music was a thing of the past (being sooooo much older than the bands).
The show was closed by Stonefield, Australia's awesome nod to the '70s. My lord, they are sick to watch live. Aside from the tokenism surrounding the band (“Oh my God, they're so good. And they're ALL GIRLS!”), they were truly excellent to watch. So comfortable with their instruments, so sassy and so full of grunt, they were impressive as hell. Their songs did begin to blend with one another by half-way through the set but as they expand their sound and their catalogue of tracks, I have no doubt their shows will be well-rounded tributes to the grungy psychadelica of decades passed.
Red Bull, in partnership with Secret Sounds, should be credited for putting on an excellent afternoon of music, which was planned and executed to perfection. They have put forward recording time, an interview with Channel [V] and a festival slot for the winning band, giving them a leg up into the industry.
And as the adage goes, free Red Bull is always good Red Bull.