Another Friday at the pub, and the line down Swanston street was huge as an eager bunch of fans queued up early, eagerly awaiting the gorgeous songstresses that awaited us that evening. First up were a band called Brackets. This haphazard group of men seemed to be on a personal mission to deafen the audience with reverb so massive that the walls of Hi Fi were shaking. Everything about Brackets was wrong, from their look, to their music, to their God awful sound technician. Think a very 80’s version of Coldplay who have meandering song structures, no stage presence and a vocalist who thinks that growling into the mic counts as singing. This band seemed to be attempting to reach a stadium sensation of sweeping, epic tunes that were dance worthy rock. However in a venue that small, drowning out the vocals with the bass drum was never going to be a good thing. Its times like these that I’m glad I carry earplugs.
Next on the line up were Sydney darlings The Jezabels, who managed to outshine the headlining act with an emotive rip roaring set, that saw front woman Hayley M in fine form. For a petite lady she has one of the most ferocious voices in modern rock. With vocal inflections reminiscent of Katy Steele, Hayley won the crowd over with her beautiful, heartfelt performance. Her vocal intensity is just amazing. Playing songs from their previous EPs, The Jezabels blew the crowd away. Highlights of the set included fantastic renditions of “Electric Lover”, “Easy To Love” and “Hurt Me”. The Jezabels are moving from strength to strength, with intelligent well written songs which are bettered by amazing piano accompaniment courtesy of the lovely Heather Shannon, and Hayley’s electric performances. This is one band you definitely need to see live.
Katie Noonan is a well known figure in the Australian music scene. For those of us who remember the late 90’s, George were a standout band of that era. Her new band, The Captains, are a talented bunch, and as always Katie’s voice will take your breath away. Showcasing tunes from their album Emperor’s Box, Katie Noonan and the Captains are like a jazz infused version of Portishead, with a love of improv and Katie’s vocal gymnastics that are truly a delight.
She is a captivating performer, that had the crowd transfixed in silence as they took in the beautiful music. Paying respect to her fans, Katie gave a shout to the very excited woman in the front row who had facebooked her excitement for the impending Melbourne show, and allowed two local dancers who had won the Captians facebook competition to dance onstage with the band.
This foray into interpretive dance was interesting to watch, and added to the chilled out ambience of the evening. In spite of their obvious talent, the Captain’s music is a one trick pony. While their music is thoughtful and well executed live, many of their songs sound the same, and as the night wore on, the crowd grew restless of seeing what seemed like the same song played ten times over, like a gorgeous rendition of groundhogs day. If you’re a Katie Noonan fan, than you’ll love the Captains and their laidback heartfelt tunes. However if you’re looking for an engaging live performance that’ll leave you begging for more from start to finish, then you probably won’t find it here.
Check out Rebecca Houlden’s Photo Gallery HERE.