It’s funny how the same songs can take on such specific and personal meanings once you’ve listened to them for about the twentieth time in under month; “City Girl” became a theme song as I’d crank it whilst on my jogs through my new city neighbourhood, and “Disco Biscuit Love” would throwback to those relationships/encounters I’d rather forget. I’d been listening to quite a lot of The Jezabels’ catalogue in the lead up to tonight’s gig and although I'd only seen the Sydneysiders at the Big Day Out in January, I was just as keen for them as if it has been years in between shows.
The Thebarton Theatre was the band’s venue of choice tonight, a far cry from the club surrounds of HQ they performed in on their last national jaunt. I thought the acoustics of the venue would match The Jezabels’ grandiose style of performing perfectly, but as for the two acts that were to open for them, I wasn’t sure. Triple J Unearthed High winners, Snakadaktal, had a decent crowd already built up for them and I was quite interested to see how these youngsters performed live, having missed out on tickets to their last few sold out gigs in town. In short, they were impressive. They sounded way more mature than they appeared and as a group of performers, they clearly work together really well. “Air”, the track that most people connected with the most, was one that I felt channelled the dreamy, indie persona the band has become known for, executing it the best onstage tonight. With only one EP to their name, Snakadaktal did well in performing a set full of sustenance; both Phoebe and Sean as vocalists grabbed your attention from the beginning and continued to wow with their mellow yet incredibly adult lyricism. The band was endearing tonight and I was glad I had the opportunity to finally see them flex their musical muscle on a stage like this.
Lights is a musician who I’d heard nothing about before tonight. I’d read that she was huge in her native Canada, but I hadn’t heard any of her music; however, I was ready to be impressed as I was with The Jezabels’ other Canadian openers in Hey Rosetta. When Lights made her entrance tonight, the now full theatre erupted into screams and it was at this point that I was convinced that I must’ve been living in a cave for the past however many years. Lights (yes, that is her name), proved to be a bit of pop rocket tonight, as she and her band churned out a set of blistering electro-pop to an adoring lot of fans.
Midway through the set, I had to Google the girl as I was still dumbfounded as to the massive reaction she’d garnered. Nothing really informative popped up (except that she’s married to Beau Bokan of Blessthefall), so I went back to focusing on the diminutive, tattooed brunette as she sweetly sang over some raucous electro beats. I’m not sure if, at the end of the set, I’d completely enjoyed myself; there were great points for sure, in particular “Siberia” and “Toes”, but for the most part, I felt like I was listening to some bland house remix session. Distortion was all over the shop and there seemed to be quite a lot of originality lacking. Everyone else seemed to not be able to get enough of Lights though, and considering it was her first time in the country, tonight couldn’t have been more welcoming for her.
Now, before I get on to the main act; I have to first admit my love for the band’s front woman. As a vocalist, I hold Hayley Mary in my Top Five list of Australian vocalists at the minute and I always find myself discovering something new and great about her as live performer with each show. Now that that’s out of the way, on to the rest of the set. Opening with “Endless Summer”, The Jezabels lit up the audience with their warm lighting and piercing performance. Nik Kaloper’s unmistakeable drumming on the song penetrated through the audience, who were completely buzzing by the end of the song. Ms Mary, dressed in a slinky skin-tight lycra/bodystocking combination was near-on flawless in her performance; this isn’t just because I’m a fangirl for her, but if the majority of your vocals on tracks are to remain up the higher end of the register, it would be easy enough to fail in their delivery live. Not with Mary though. As the band went through songs including “Rosebud” and “Mace Spray”, she kept her form and range brilliantly. Pacing across the stage, throwing herself back and forth with each crescendo, Mary was tonight equal parts PJ Harvey and Chrissy Amphlett in talent and attitude. Her harmonies with Heather Shannon weren’t drowned out, like I found them to be the last time I’d seen them, and she managed to keep a great connection between her band mates and the crowd through the night.
The band had spent some time touring through the States, and it’s evident that The Jezabels are most definitely a live touring act. Sam Lockwood, over on the right side of the stage was in his element on guitar, commanding attention as much as Mary did. People up in the seats were stood and dancing, attempting falsettos and throwing their arms up as if responding to some amazing musical sermon being served tonight. With Adelaide being the second date on quite the extensive tour, I felt like we’d still managed to be a part of The Jezabels’ initial lot of homecoming shows. The sound in the theatre tonight was exactly as good as I’d expected it to be – I can only speculate as to where the band will be performing when they next roll by, as they seem to just be going from strength to strength.