From Australia’s hippie idyll Byron Bay via the same people who bought you King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, The Babe Rainbow are an enticing prospect. Ridiculously good looking (singer Angus Darling has the boyish charm of a young Kurt Cobain, while guitarist Jack ‘Cool-Breeze’ Crowther looks like a man Cecil B. DeMille would cast as God), they’re in town to promote their debut album, and they’re not playing by the rules.
Starting with a new song, in near darkness, it’s quickly apparent they don’t have to: the venue is sold out, everyone seems to know every word, and the audience groove and jive and shimmy in a way that hasn’t been seen in the wild since the late 1960s.
The shuffling Peace Blossom Boogy is a highlight. The stunningly funky Monkey Disco is another. Hell, they’re all highlights. It’s like Canned Heat playing Abbey Road-era Beatles, via an excursion to Studio 54 at the height of disco. There’s crowd surfing, and a lazy swing through Blondie’s Heart Of Glass, and it all feels like it could collapse at any minute, but it doesn’t.
There’s no doubt that there’s a hipster element to the band’s audience. But if we’re going to start dismissing musicians because some of their followers serve lattes or develop mobile apps, then we’re doomed. The Babe Rainbow are brilliant.