It has been quite some time since I have been to the Black Bear Lodge, and probably only the second time since its infamous transformation from The Troubadour. I’d forgotten just what an amazing room it is. Stupidly hot, but incredible. Charlie Mayfair chose this venue for their show celebrating the release of their new EP Fall in Time.
Opening the night was Sleepy Tea. Lets do some math here. What do you get when you combine Tom Wearne (Tin Can Radio) and the Emma Louise? Awesomeness, that’s what: a dream-pop kind of mellowness that has glorious melodies. This is Tom’s side project, but you can tell that just by listening. The songs are very similar in construct as those of Tin Can Radio, but without the heavy electronic synth. The opening three songs were the two vocalists accompanied by guitar. These songs were delightful. Their voices mesh so well together to create some beautiful harmonies.
When the rest of the band (bass and drums) joined the due, things got a lot more interesting. It was such a different kind of song they created, and different types of songs also. But still, very Tin Can Radio like. Can I just clarify; this is definitely not a bad thing at all. You can’t change your song writing style just because you want to change up the group of musicians you are writing for. Their last song, I think it was their “single” even thought nothing has been officially recorded, was easily their most catchy, and funnily enough, most unique also.
Next up was Little Casino, a band who I had heard absolutely nothing about or of. Here’s what I found out tonight. They have just finished recording their debut EP which will be released in the near future. “All Fall Down” is an amazing song. It shows off the vocals of lead singer Ben Forbes. There’s a certain quality to this young mans voice that really captured me, more so than many other new bands I’ve heard of late. The band as a whole work really well together and they sound like they’ve been playing together for years, when In reality, I think it has only been a short amount of time. They have their own unique folk- rock style and also their own interpretation of that style.
There are not too many bands that can make me grin like a fool on first listen, but these guys? They had Ben grinning from first tune they played. I know they are going to be a band that I follow closely as their career develops and flourishes. They definitely have the makings to be one of my favourite new bands.
Finally, Charlie Mayfair brought it home to that room where the air was almost unbeatable due to the heat and stuffiness. They have come so far since the last time I hear them play. They sound has developed and matured and they are definitely becoming an Indie-Pop force to be reckoned with. The one thing that sets this band apart from all those other bands out there is their vocal harmonies. When lead singer, Hannah Shepherd together with Irena Lysiuck and Dave Di Marco sing together it is something truly special. And they sung together in pretty much every song, so I think you get how special these three together can be.
Their opening song of the set “Blue Water” has evolved since last time I attended one of their gigs. It’s form may have changed, but it hasn’t lost any of it’s intensity. It opens with just Hannah on vocals, joined by Irena and finally Dave, before the rhythmic accompaniment of the rest of the band sets in. It was nice to hear Dave taking up lead vocal duties on a new track “Stone”. The band’s new singe “Waste Me” was sensational live. I didn’t think they could pull off the opening as well in a live situation as they do on record but it was flawless. Kudos. As an encore, the band welcomed Emma Lousie and Tom from Sleepy Tea back on stage to sing an unplugged number. That is, the acoustic guitar unplugged and the mics turned off. This was something truly mind blowing. I just wish I had been in the front row instead of mid crowd.
Charlie Mayfair have really stepped it up in the last little bit, and their new EP, which is streaming exclusively on the AU review, is definitely worth a listen.