Live Review: Aluka + Brighter Later - Northcote Uniting Church (03.05.13)

Yes, Christian religious institutions have their chequered history, and horrible memories of stories within the Vatican permeate society nowadays. But let’s not talk about that – this is a gig review. Something that religious institutions have going for them is that gigs within their churches are normally good or very good. The simple fact that a gig is being held in a church will make the enhancement of the acoustics a simple factor in making a gig great. You can be Screaming Lord Sutch and sound good in a church. When you put a mellow, picturesque-sounding band and a group who are themselves the musical equivalent of shooting stars within high walls of Northcote’s Uniting Church, you get a spectacular experience.

Brighter Later started the evening with a set that had a soothing, calm manner. Their country-tinged sound was delicate as a feather. The duo of Jaye Kranz and Virginia Bott gave mediative tones for the majority of their 50 minutes. The Nord keyboards along with a lack of drums emerged as the main culprit here for that kind of wonderful, soothing feeling through their set. The warm, mulled wine provided at the gig complimented the bashful yet precious nature of songs like ‘Come And Go’ and ‘Magnolia’. Musically, Brighter Later could be as warm-hearted a band that you’ll witness.

When all you have is your vocal chords for a performance, you could be forgiven that as a musician you’d be restricted somewhat by the lack of diversity in your instrumentation. It is such a bare instrument that has a unique timbre for each and every individual. The ladies of Aluka showed that a vocal group could disperse their vocal range every which way possible. From the measured ‘Tiptoe’ to the brooding ‘Station’ to the bouncy ‘Keep My Cool’, the trio sung their hearts out. It never got tiring, and the fact voices alone were providing the entertainment made it extraordinary to listen to. An aural pleasure which needs to be experienced more than once if possible.