Review: Pat Chow ‘Are You Okay?’ Album Launch @ Amplifier

Words by: Drew Krapljanov

The night burst into to life with the incredibly twisted Alternative Rock of ‘Hip Priest’. With immense volume they started out the set with ‘Bamalamalam’, the first track off their debut Lo-Fi album ‘Alone a k/friends’ that features a delightfully freaky earworm of a melodic vocal hook.Their set of subverted College Rock was explosive and monstrous  with guitar freak outs and twisted cacophonous noise sections transitioning each of the songs. The wonderfully structured ‘Bath Salts’ was a particular highlight with a sticky, sweet lead guitar melody and a pummelling drum and bass section that kept the song consistently energetic and engaging.

Following their onslaught of Ween-styled intensity came the subdued and subtle Jangle Pop of Verge Collection. Kicking things off with the sardonic, Triple J acclaimed ‘Feel Bad Songs’, the band smashed out a versatile and consistent set from the moody, Country twang of their debut EP track ‘Goin Steady’ to a slightly awkward yet impressively rapped cover of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’.

One of the strongest aspects of the set was the frontman’s vocal performance and lyrical content as he managed to burst through the noise of Amplifier Bar and deliver observational quips with such nuance that if you blinked, you would have missed it. Another set highlight was their latest single ‘Our Place’ which featured great instrumentation, adequately placed backing vocals, and a passionate lead vocal performance.

After having a conversation with a friend of mine about the absurd, ambitious genius of Prince, FOAM ignited into action smashing out a chaotic and frenetic Noise Punk performance filled with unsettling, fluid tempo changes and abrasive and intricate instrumentation. The song ‘Pussyhammer’ showcased this nicely with the frontman’s confident, experimental vocal delivery and dissonant guitar work and the trio’s fiery chemistry.

Despite a variety of technical difficulties, the band played viciously and energetically displaying the ambitious experimentation and the band’s evolution from their simplistic Grunge roots of their earlier releases to their latest release ‘The Feeling Is Mutual’. The band even performed a wry sped-up version of their debut EP hit ‘So Far So Good,’ which further revealed the band’s new-found chaotic aggression.

Now Pat Chow have been around for a while now, ever since Ben Protasiewicz started the Whores as a solo project back in 2006 before becoming Pat Chow around 2011. Comparing the band and their EP ‘Good Deed’ back in 2014 to their latest debut album ‘Are You Okay?’, you can see how much they have refined their songwriting craft and the intensity of their live performance.

The band opened with an explosive Pixies-tinged ‘mad chooka’ (the action of moving one’s head back and forth like a chicken) entitled ‘Pleasure Unit’. The crowd response was strong and passionate. The stakes seemed high and the security began to strengthen as the band played through a consistently strong set that showcased their versatility and chemistry as a trio. The song ‘Go Ahead’ was driven by a tight and fluent drum and bass section underneath an excellent, energetic vocal performance. The alt-rock oddball ‘Flower Power’ displayed the band’s dynamic playing that was carried by a quirky and intriguing guitar melody before exploding into a powerful chorus.

If one song represented the songwriting talent and the musicianship of Pat Chow, it was the subdued 10 minute plus Jangle Pop ballad ‘FML’ that managed to keep it’s lengthy runtime engaging with a fantastic song arrangement and a uncharacteristically softly spoken vocal delivery.

You can purchase/stream Pat Chow’s latest album ‘Are You Okay?’ here: