I last saw Soaked Oats back in March, in their home country of New Zealand. it was a sponsored gig, called Corona Sunsets and, particularly fitting given the dull alcoholic beverage it took its name from, the event was an uninspiring affair. They're a mellow band, certainly, but it was all too stolid. At one point, the crowd all knelt during an especially quiet song; the youthful masses praying to a musical higher power, searching for a better night out.
Thankfully, this time around, the band were a different experience altogether. It often seems like Australia is the promised land for emerging bands from New Zealand and there was a very strong sense watching Soaked Oats that they were aware of this idea: frontman Oscar Mein told the crowd about their last time in Melbourne, when barely anyone showed up, and just how overjoyed he was to see a much healthier crowd now.
They certainly didn't disappoint the swelled numbers. It was a tight set, no filler. Given the boys hail from Dunedin, that beacon of independent music on New Zealand's South Island, Soaked Oats' music knows its lineage in the Dunedin Sound and Flying Nun yet it's all enhanced for their millennial generation. They're more playful and irreverant in their style; song titles include Avocado Afiocionado, that staple of the 2019 middle class diet.
Fan favourite's like "Shuggah Doom" and "Coming Up" are emblematic of their stoner-meets-surfer dude aesthetic. Mein is also a charismatic performer and he controlled the crowd expertly throughout.
This gig came on the back of the release of their well-received EP "Sludge Pop" and it's clear that the band are growing nearer to perfecting their music. Perhaps in 2020, Mein and his cohorts will return and he can be appreciative of an ever larger crowd beholden to Soaked Oats.