Finding The Standard in Surry Hills proves to be a challenge. We walk up and down Bourke Street a couple of times looking for it, only stopping for a delicious kingfish carpaccio at My Zakaya and again for cheese and dessert wine at Le Pelican.
Thus fortified, we finally venture into The Standard (it's just off Taylor Square, for the record) in time for the last few songs of support act The Cairos from Brisbane. They are a talented bunch and their song Shame really makes you want to shout along, but, seriously, what is it with rock musicians and their hairdos? Especially the bass player sports a ridiculous outgrown mullet and keeps blowing his fringe out of his eyes. Very distracting.
Enter the members of Deep Sea Arcade and their singer's own version of a Beatles bowl cut. Nic McKenzie is either very stoned or channeling Jim Morrison (or both) as he prowls the stage with a lazy smile playing around his lips and his eyes half closed.
The retro vibe is supported by the '60s sci-fi and French Nouvelle Vague movies played on folded screens in the background. But the frontman's voice sounds surprisingly fresh and clear as he belts out the first song of the concert, Seen no Right.
McKenzie dedicates his next song Girls to a couple of ladies in the audience. He helpfully points them out one by one (sadly, I'm not included). The influence of The Doors is unmistakable in The Devil Won't Take You, and it is the song that made me discover the band on radio. On hearing the first tunes of the upbeat Steam, everyone in the audience starts cheering and singing along. No wonder it is currently one of my four-year old daughter's favourite songs.
The album's musical influence varies from '60s surf pop and the Madchester scene to '90s beat and The Smiths (which is one of my all-time favourite bands, incidentally). This is psychedelic indie pop at its best with catchy tunes and great, layered arrangements. It's joyful and original, and I'm already looking forward to hearing what they will come up with next.