The following is one of the better formulas to welcome in the weekend: first cleanse all the weeks’ hard work with a gritty set of blues-rock, followed by a bit of 60’s garage rock renaissance to loosen off the limbs, finished with a punchy set of indie-pop to catapult you into Saturday – this exactly was on offer at the sold out gig at Ding Dong on Friday. The evening was opened by Fremantle rockers The Growl, followed by The Frowning Clouds and headlined by Loon Lake, who were there to launch their debut EP Not Just Friends

Any fan of blues rock immediately starts rubbing their hands together when not one but two drum kits are being assembled on stage, and The Growl didn’t bring just that; smashing out a set of dirty, sultry blues-rock that resonated deep, deep into the bones . Kicking off with a beautiful, raw, opening jam that entranced the early birds quicker than an ultra violet light would a mosquito, the intense guitar riffs were balanced perfectly with bluesy light and shade. Conquering what many can’t (especially in a smaller venue), lead singer Cameron Avery produced vocals that were often raw and gritty, but also clear and tender. The audience was treated to several jams, and with the double drums and staccato base really hitting the spot, no one was crying self-indulgence. Debut single Smoke It Down received applause and admiration from all in the room, and as the set came to a close there was more than a little disappointment that this couldn’t go on for longer.

The Frowning Clouds were next up, steering the evening in a different direction with their 60’s inspired garage rock ‘n’ roll. It could be guessed that these guys grew up listening to their parents’ Kinks and Rolling Stones vinyl, with an unquestionable nostalgia for the sixties running through their sound. TFC have enjoyed some good airplay since debut album Listen Closlier was launched earlier this year, spawning tracks such as Time Wastin’ Woman, Purple Heart, and crowd favourite Lovin’ You. Watching this band is like travelling back through your youth though – there were some hiccups; harmonies often the missed the mark, at times sounding a little chaotic – but also some triumphs on big notes. Overall, given some time to mature, TFCs could soon consolidate a spot in the sixties-revival scene that is quickly gaining momentum. Listen out for them in garages the nation over.

As the room quickly swelled with people, bodies packed tightly around the stage for the headline act Loon Lake, who were launching their debut EP Not Just Friends. From the first note strummed it was clear these guys are up for a good time – the kind where you fling your hair and crazily wave your arms around the dance floor without a second thought. With a ridiculous amount of hooks and crazy chord-jumping lyrics, Into The Office was a hit with the crowd, while the light-hearted charm of Easy Chairs made some throw their arms around the nearest person. These guys left their inhibition at home, with lead singer Dan belting out some notes that hit the rafters, while Tim (bass), Simon (guitar/backup vocals), Sam (guitar, keys) and Nick (drums) were relentless but smooth with their instruments. The Suburbs showed good variation from their typical allegro, with a return to the bands’ original low-fi sound.

After a cloud of balloons were released onto the audience (and adding balloon popping to the list of percussion), the set was closed out with new single In The Summer. By this stage both band and audience seemed to be having a party, as this final number stretched on through a lengthy instrumental section and back into the chorus again. It’s no wonder this was a sold out gig, and Loon Lake rewarded fans by successfully translating their recordings into a fun live performance. By the time the clock ticked over to Saturday morning there was hardly a person who wasn’t already having a good weekend.

–        Dannika Bonser