Review: Summer Tones at the Oxford Art Factory

We have finally tasted what those Melbournians are getting quarterly and it tastes pretty darn good. Summer Tones hit Sydney for the first time and what an amazing show that was.

Lawrence Arabia

My night started with Lawrence Arabia (the pseudonym of James Milne) and he seems to have the formula for the perfect pop track. The infectious “Apple Pie Bed” or “Fine Old Friends” complete with its twee riffs and coy lyrics are a joy to witness. Even during “I’ve Smoked Too Much”, Milne’s soft-rock tunes are filled with nostalgia that it brings you home.

High Places

As with the next band, I have loved them since they featured on Mistletone’s Christmas album of 2007, Mistletonia. High Places’ sound is bass-heavy, tropical, soft psych pop that’s richly textured and when superimposed with Mary Pearson’s vocals, it transcends to form the ethereal. “Head Spins”, “Shared Islands” and “Gold Coin” had many dancing about. Whereas “Namer” and “A Field Guide” were mellow but delightful moments. High Places live is definitely a journey into temporality and in this notion I find much solace. It is the same feeling when you see Lucky Dragons and it is absolutely amazing.


The anticipation for Beaches was unexpected but very welcome. The infamous Melbourne quintet played a tight set with their self-titled release forming the backbone. Their confidence was overwhelming and the force they continuously hit with during their set is more than just a slap to the face. “Free Way” and “Sandy” were my stand outs but Beaches as a collective will always be prominent.

Dan Deacon

As the night started to wind into the early hours of the morning, we all stood compacted around this one man and his table of effects pedals, microphones, keys and lights adorned with cables everywhere. Dan Deacon begins his set with a convivial greeting and a warm-up exercise or two. The once huddled crowd springs up with a press of the next button on Deacon’s ipod shuffle and to my delight it was the Salt ‘n’ Pepa track, “Whatta Man”. The set opens with “Get Older” – a new track from his latest record, Bromst. It sounds darker, like a new concoction of sound samples together with his neurotic vocals, yet this isn’t new territory for Deacon. As this is the last leg of solo tours, I can only imagine how amazing it would be to hear Bromst live when backed with a full orchestra. As we snake our way through Oxford Art Factory during “Padding Ghost”, Dan Deacon reminded me how much fun you always have at his shows. Whatta man!

More photos here.


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