A one-man concoction of synth-pop grooves: GUM leaves Oxford Art Factory in awe again

Every time I see Jay Watson perform solo, I’m always left a little in awe by the whole experience.

He has been flashing his talent about for the last few years as a touring member of Tame Impala and a core player in Perth-based POND. Despite these contributions to two pillars of the psych scene, his solo work emerged from the need to release whatever ideas that were still floating around in his creatively lush mind-tank.

GUM jay watson oxford art factory dani hansen happy mag

A one-man-show of the highest calibre, GUM brought The Underdog to a packed-out Oxford Art Factory with seasoned swagger.

Enter, GUM.

He dropped his solo debut Delorean Highway back in 2014 and last month released his fourth, The Underdog, which called for some national dates before a brief stint overseas.

Instead of his occasional backing band, he brought three stellar support acts in tow to his headline show at Oxford Art Factory. Newcastle producer e4444e took the opening spot and brandished a decent sized crowd to kick things off.

A haze of glitchy digital beats descended heavily before being completely absorbed by Emma Russack’s sobering edge.

I first caught her opening for Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders not too long ago, and it appears she is still on her same dry antics. Russack’s dead-pan lyrical style is fused with equally arid melodies and cheeky stage banter, making for a whimsical live set.

Third and final support is Brisbane artist Emerson Snowe. Armed with a mic, a backing track, and a large amount of personality, Snowe never disappoints. Where his solo work accentuates a reserved eccentricity on record, he makes up for with sheer presence onstage.

It has become clear by now that Watson is as eloquent in his support selection as he is in every other creative endeavour.

By the time GUM takes the stage, the place is packed. Watson proceeds with a concoction of disco-y synth grooves and mind-blowing guitar work. He also managed to sneak in POND hit Colder Than Ice and a cover of pals The Silents which left me with my jaw on the floor.

Words and photos by Dani Hansen.