BY TIM HINELY
Australia’s Twerps (now signed to Merge Records) were supposed to play second (on this four-band bill at Denver’s Hi Dive… whose idea was that on this Tuesday night?!) but ended up playing third so there went my hopes for an early night.
Something told me to go in and catch at least a few songs by the second band Happyness and I’m glad I did. At first I couldn’t tell if it was three guys simply fucking around but then that gave way to some nice Sea & Cake-ish laid back jangly tunes. Band members switched instruments and occasionally the laid-back vibe slipped into something a bit more, uh, rockin’ (I was reminded a little of the more direct GBV songs). Apparently this U.K. bunch have something coming out any second on the Bar None label.
Melbourne, Australia’s Twerps hit the stage at 11:00 PM and mentioned getting no sound check (due to their being four bands). This four-piece played a handful of songs on their S/T 2011 debut (Chapter Music) but most of the set was from their recently released Merge debut , Range Anxiety. I definitely heard Dreamin’” from the debut and “I Don’t Mind’ and “Back To You” and “Stranger” from the latest record (plus others……I’m still learnin’ the songs).
The sound wasn’t great on this night and the band didn’t appear to have a ton of energy, but singer/guitarist Martin Frawley kept it loose in between songs, crackin’ self-deprecating jokes while bassist/keyboardist Julia McFarlane added a prettiness to the songs both with her vocals and keys. Having just played SXSW the band was enroute to the left coast with stops in Utah, Idaho on the way (I was surprised to hear that the band played here in Denver two years ago…not sure where I was but unfortunately not at the gig). Anyway, lousy sound or not I’ll be there the next time the Twerps play Denver and the time after that and….