The Motor Room 15/8/14
reviewed by Andy Paine
The Motor Room, and the Boundary St markets which seemingly popped up at about the same time and are also on tonight, are the latest step in the evolution of the Absoe building in West End from furniture factory to DIY art studio space to what is now a full blown commercial venue.
It still holds on to its warehouse aesthetic and the feeling that it is a bit edgier and friendlier than most pub venues, which makes it the ideal spot for the Mouldy Lovers to launch their new single. Also on the bill were Big Iron and Moski Jo, who unfortunately I missed but I know from prior experience are really good bands who would have put on a great show.
Mouldy Lovers though were taking the stage as I walked in to a very packed Motor Room. It’s not a small venue either, there must have been hundreds of people in there, dancing up a storm to the Mouldies’ mashup of gypsy, punk, blues, hip hop and whatever else they can throw in. I squeezed my way into the dance floor and joined the moving throng. It was much warmer in there than outside, and the energy in the room was surely enough to get even the most leaden feet moving.
A highlight for me though was just looking around and seeing so many familiar faces around me. Some were good friends, some just faces that I have come to know from 3 years living and hanging out in this peninsula. I’ve lived in a number of places and can confidently say that none of them are quite like West End.
Mouldy Lovers are quintessentially a West End band – like the suburb they are daggy but friendly, enthusiastic, enticing you to let go of your inhibitions, an indistinct mix of different styles. And present tonight are so many of the elements that make West End the place it is – musicians, hippies, punks, students, activists, hipsters, and yes, the yuppies who shop at the Boundary St markets. I didn’t see any Greek yia-yias out working in their gardens, but maybe they were there somewhere near the back.
Mouldy Lovers in this situation are more than just a band and those songs more than just rhythms and melodies – they are the encapsulation of what so many love about this suburb. Even if you didn’t like the music (though I doubt many people could hate something so fun and danceable), you could still dance, moving to the beat of this suburb and the idea of belonging to a place and a group of people. In a world where it’s so easy to live completely self-contained lives and to consume your music in a personalised niche, dancing to Mouldy Lovers with a few hundred others is a celebration of community and the Mouldies are the ligaments that hold together all these disparate parts.
As the set came to a close (including encore), I said hi and hugged a few friends who I ran into. I couldn’t stay long, but on this occasion no deep connection was needed, it was enough to know that we would see each other again soon. After all, we share something intangible that is hard to name but that the whole room could feel.