John Steel Singers + Jonathon Boulet – The Corner Hotel (27.03.2011)

Jonathon Boulet - The Corner Hotel 27.03.2011

The Corner band room was packed on a Sunday with plenty of revellers ready and waiting for Brisbane’s The John Steel Singers to take to the stage. The band took a few songs to warm up, but the crowd was very receptive as they broke into the opening bars of “Overpass”, and from there on in the band room was a mess of bouncing bodies as the audience happily bobbed along to the joyous tunes.

I’m beginning to think that I may have seen The John Steel Singers’ live show a few too many times for it to really be enjoyable anymore. Technically, the performance was spot on, and John Steel Singers handle their harmonies and intricate melodies very well live. They have a fun presence, but their onstage moves were exactly the same as last time I saw them, and they seemed to be lacking in energy this time around.

Had it been my first time seeing the band, I would’ve been lost in the music along with everybody else. However, being the fourth time I’ve seen them in as many months, hearing “Rainbow Kraut”, “Masochist” and “Strawberry Wine” played exactly as they are on record, with no room for spontaneity or improvisation, has grown to be a tired affair. Here’s hoping they’ll be back with some new music and some new moves in the near future.

The real draw card for the evening was Modular’s wunderkid Jonathon Boulet. The crowd had thinned a little by the time Boulet and co’s set began, and the punters who chose to leave early missed out on a magical performance that was brimming with energy and excitement. The hour long show was astounding. I was mesmerised by the music and the presence of the players. Boulet is an amazing talent, and he has surrounded himself with a group of skilled musicians that bring his creations to life onstage. The dual percussionists and driving rhythms were all encompassing, and the band got right into the music, losing themselves in the moment.

The crowd was a mix of people dancing and standing with baited breath, waiting to see what happened next, as the band doled out track after track of gorgeous folk-inspired melodies, mixed in with the tribal drums and romantic lyrical sentiments. “Ones Who Fly Twos Who Die”, “A Community Service Announcement”, and “Ready Or Not” were highlights of an impassioned set, that ended with the glorious “You’re A Animal” which came complete with an extended drum solo that had the crowd in a frenzy as the boys walked offstage.

All things considered, it was a night of quality entertainment that appeased Melbourne’s notoriously fickle music fans. I look forward to seeing what else Jonathon Boulet comes up with this year, as his set was an early highlight of 2011’s live scene.