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Hitting the HiWay for some hops and Holy Soul

ENMORE: The Holy Soul, like most bands, haven’t played much in the last 12 months, let alone somewhere where their fans can stand together with a drink in hand. So there was a definite party atmosphere at HiWay this night.

HiWay is a relatively new bar in Enmore Road, a few doors down from the Enmore Theatre.

I killed some time before doors opened by stopping in at Hopsters, Australia’s first cooperative brewery, and Nigerian restaurant Little Lagos.

Most of the customers in Hopsters seemed to be members. Beers on the blackboard menu included craft brews such as Cool Kids, Socks & Thongs, Hang Loose Juice and Cthulhu black IPA.

I ordered the hottest stew at Little Lagos, Ayamase, with locust beans, green bullhorn capsicum, habaneros and onions (may contain fish bits, cow leg “Bokoto”, cow skin “Ponmo” and tripes “Shaki”).

Probably too brave a choice. The manager wondered why I wasn’t sweating. Sadly, the African beers were sold out so I had to rely on a Grifter pilsner to put out the fire before heading to HiWay and its small but balanced drinks list.

The Holy Soul, “heroes of the underground”, have been kicking around for 20 years, recording with and supporting cool stars on the fringe of the rock firmament.

This night they were introducing fans to songs from their forthcoming album Get Old!, produced by Robyn Hitchcock. In the mix were also songs from their 2015 album, the well-reviewed, Gareth Liddiard-produced Fortean Times.

Supporting acts were Luke O’Farrel (from the Laurels), with some interesting distorted shoegaze, and Mope City (good name), who seemed too uncomfortable and not taking it seriously enough to be truly mope.

Judging by this night’s songs, The Holy Soul have developed a liking for melody, harmonies and a ’60s feel — the Kinks sometimes came to mind.

Yet they never veered too far from their familiar avant-rock, “garage psych”, as in new single “747”, propelled at HiWay by powerful drumming from Kate Wilson.

“Get old!” could be a sensible recommendation.

HiWay, previously known as the Hideaway Bar, is a small venue (100+ capacity) with standing/dancing room close to the stage and seats closer to the entrance for less entranced listeners. Soon it will be partnered by the Bikini cocktail bar.

Relaxation and meditation videos are projected onto the walls behind the performers and a mirror ball hangs from the ceiling.

Check out HiWay for emerging bands. And returning legends like The Holy Soul.

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The Holy Soul played at HiWay, Enmore, on April 10.

 

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