Upper Partialism @ Common House

Unadulterated musical collaboration

For the last year or so, Common House in Fortitude Valley has provided a much-needed DIY venue for Brisbane's music scene. It's been a place where you can book a show without worrying about how much money you'll take at the door; where people of all ages can enjoy local music; and where you can walk in barefoot and in a ripped up t-shirt without worrying what a security guard will say. It has hosted overseas and interstate punk bands, as well as plenty of locals exploring the further reaches of pop music.

That last category is probably where we would place Upper Partialism, the monthly event of experimental and improvised music. It has been running for half a dozen nights here; and sadly due to noise complaints from unsupportive neighbouring businesses, it looks like this one will be the last show at Common House for a while.

Whilst it's sad for the Brisbane music scene to have lost another DIY venue, at least Upper Partialism can take it out in style – with 30 or so people scattered around the room listening politely and intently to musicians coercing sounds from their instruments that they were certainly not designed for.

First up was Amanda Terry. Armed with a violin and a loop pedal, she scrapes away at the strings minimally and with little of the free-flowing beauty you would often associate with violinists. Still, her set has a kind of beauty of its own, and the audience are hushed and attentive she sits down the violin and they burst into applause.

With very little break, Johnny Cyrus and His Band Of Ghosts set up. With two electric guitars and a drumkit (the woman on one of the guitars has more pedals than a Sunday morning lycra gang), they make two chord soundscapes that start slow and sparse and build till they are loud and intense. Partway through the set they are joined by Luke McCallum of Ghost Notes, who adds some restrained trumpet to the mix.

After that it was a kind of free-for-all jam. The guy from Steady As She Goes lead with his guitar and occasional baritone ramblings, while other musicians rotated around him. My personal highlight was the closing duet of him and another guy on the drumkit, bowing the cymbals with a violin bow.

Upper Partialism will I'm sure find a new home, while hopefully Common House can find a way to still function as a resource for the Brisbane music community. Both of these institutions are destined to struggle on outside of mainstream congratulations but providing something valuable for those who seek something different.

Andy Paine

Zed Facts

Before 4ZZ could start broadcasting in 1975, a transmitter was ordered from the U.S. But after it was lost on the dock in New York, 4ZZ's chief engineer at the time Ross Dannecker built the station's first transmitter.