When I heard that I was heading off to The Jezabels I was a little beside myself with excitement. The last time I heard the band play was over a year and a half ago to an almost sold out Zoo. My, oh my have they come a long way since then. I’ve been following their career closely, missing their gigs at the Tivoli over that period, and dying to relive my first live experience. So, in a nutshell, to say I was beside myself with eager anticipation would be the understatement of the century.
Opening the night at the Brisbane Convention Centre was the youthful Snakadaktal. I won’t lie, I was slightly afraid for the youngsters. The Convention Centre is not the easiest room to play, especially when it is less than half full. I shouldn’t have been worried. The band has a maturity way beyond their years. I don’t really know what I was expecting. But it wasn’t this. The only clue to tell you they have only been doing this a very short time is when they speak to thank their audience and their fellow bands.
“Air” was definitely the stand out of the set. It, along with “Chimera”, showed off the vocal talent of Miss Phoebe, as well as Sean. I do believe thought, it is Phoebe whose vocals shine throughout the set. They are simplistic and unforced, which is refreshing to hear. The electric drum sounds combined with live drum sounds is nicely balanced, but the overall the sound was not altogether uniform. One song the bass would be shaking the room, the next it was more blended in the texture. Both are fine, but I believe it needs to be consistent. Their final song, and new single “Dance Bear” has a completely different vibe to the rest of their songs, and I’m not completely sold on it. However, I am more than happy to have my mind changed.
Next up was Lights. Here’s a couple of fun facts for you. Lights is a young lady from Toronto, Canada. She plays Electro-pop kind of music. I’d never heard of her and I despise myself for this. Here why. She was freaking fantastic! I am not normally one that loves heavy electro sounding music, but I found myself completely enchanted by the set because it had subtle elements of that indie-pop goodness that I love. There were three synth stations and a drum kit set up on stage, with Lights herself positioned in the middle of two parallel keyboards. The title track of her latest release “Siberia” was quite stellar, as was the song that she introduced as “what was left of as reoccurring dream.” But it was her opener, “Banner” that hooked me right away. Lights’ vocals are something to be admired, she is such a charismatic performer with a voice that cut over the heavy drops that occur underneath. Look her up if you are as ignorant as me, it's well worth your while.
Onto The Jezabels. First off, something has to be said about Hayley Mary and her vocals. She is one of the most incredible singers in Australian music at present. Big call, I know, but there it is. She has such a deep and powerful low register that is so much lower than most females can comfortably sing, while at the same time conquering her higher register, which most singer use sparingly out of fear. It’s something so special. She still dances the way she has always done. With the bended knees, and arm waving sideways in the air. I love it. Brilliant.
Like I said previously, this little band from Sydney has come a long way since gigs at the Zoo sized venues. The production of the show and the stage set up were something you would see from bands of a much higher caliber, but it was so good to see them stepping up in order to be that next big thing. The set was really well put together. I still wholeheartedly believe that the material that came off the set of three EPs, as a whole, is leaps and bounds better than their new material on Prisoner. This is just my personal opinion. Because of this, they lost me in the middle, when they played “Nobody Nowhere”, “Horsehead” and “Long Highway” in a row, but brought it home with “Try Colour” and songs from their EPs. I think it is just that they are more memorable, and not over cluttered. I will say thought, that “Deep Blue Ocean” is an amazing song, and I was glad to hear it included in the set. They finished with “Dark Storm” before encoring with “Peace of Mind” segueing into “Hurt Me”. That combination is a winner. Just saying.
All in all, a sensational gig, full of unexpected surprises. The good kind. I am truly happy that The Jezabels have stepped it up. They have always been good, but this just shows, that if a band keeps on working hard and producing good music, they can keep the journey going, and going, and going… and going.