Live Review: All Our Exes Live In Texas + Christopher Coleman Collective + Simone and Girlfunkle – Jimmy’s Den, Northbridge (21.10.16)

The folk songstress quartet known as All Our Exes Live In Texas welcomed Perth for their latest single “The Devil’s Part” tour, proving they having every ounce of harmonic talent to back up potentially the best band name in history.  Wonderfully accompanied by Tasmanian Christopher Coleman Collective, locals Simone and Girlfunkle, and now infamous Tony the Drummer, it was truly an awe inspiring show, hours full of genuine laughs, biting lyricism and vocals that just hit you straight in the soul.

I honestly wish I had the ability to intricately describe every minute moment of each set, to do the incredibly warm atmosphere justice with multitudes of flowery adjectives and other sumptuous synonyms, from the immediately friendly vibe in the room to the self-deprecating openness of each of the acts to the point where we all sat cross legged in front of the stage grinning at each other like family sharing stupid jokes. Going in with nothing but some vague knowledge of the headliners, each band blew me away with their musical maturity and uniqueness.

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Simone and Girlfunkle began the evening, I’d caught them a few years back at Southbound Festival but could remember nothing other than I had enjoyed it. The occasional seven piece performed as their downsized acoustic trio form with Bridget Turner, Sarah Tout and Heather Bex, releasing colourful vocal harmonies that had me itching to step into the empty dance space and start a ho down.  Kicking off with “Love Love Love” (“It’s about love”) their pure vocal prowess filled the room, you easily forgot they had nothing but a clarinet and acoustic guitar supporting them instrumentally, the indie pop clearly laden with an endearing folk element.

Their presence was entirely engaging as they swapped guitars and threw into “Chilly Cold” giving sage advice on the origin of each track, appearing as though they were on the brink of fits of laughter as they smiled down on the crowd. Introducing Tony as the drummer for a few tunes, there was a real feeling of affection between stage and floor as the band continued to wind through their vibrantly breezy setlist. By the end, I was so ecstatically content I didn’t think the next act could possibly top that.

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Never has being wrong sounded so good. Turns out the collective is generally a singular in the form of a crackingly dry Tasmanian as Christopher Coleman had the crowd chuckling along to his pointed lyrics amongst melancholy tunes within the first song. Drawing in the whole crowd with his opening track “Stages of Love”, written by his own dad, the gentle and delicate folk tune amplified by the open and raw sentiment, the room were instantly absorbed.  Bringing back new friend Tony to join on drums, Coleman delighted in the power of the microphone for a moment garnering a venue wide cheer of “Hi Tony,” before leading into an amusing anecdote for his next tune “Dandelion Flower”.

The fun he seemed to be having was insanely infectious, the down to earth rustic themes contrasted with poignant revelry.  Wanting to end on a high he kicked off Tony joking he was being “pissed and unprofessional” and casually rang in Georgia Mooney from All Our Exes onto the stage for a vocal workshop, running the crowd through a chorus line before they carried away a soft duet, the floor swaying along with them. Finally Coleman gave us the validation we all really needed to close the set declaring that we were, “Such better singers than Tasmanians. People don’t sing in Tasmania“.

All Our Exes Live In Texas came on stage as we eagerly returned to our positions, crowding forward to sit cross legged, the chemistry between the quartet immediately telling as they joked on stage before getting into their opening tracks “Boundary Road” and “I’m Gonna Get My Heart Cut Out”.  Elana Stone on accordion initially led the vocals before Georgia traipsed in, while Hannah Crofts conducted “Parking Lot”, described as an ode to being a “Shit adult that loses everything”, the other band members quickly jumping forward to offer evidence on various cases including the misplacement of the merch tin.

Through every vocal harmony that rose and fell in each track, you could see the ultimate familiarity they all shared as they swapped side-ways glances and knowing smirks, and that comfortable humour just spread throughout the show. Hannah noted she had been listening to a lot of Nirvana of late, slashing away at her ukulele strings, before Katie Wighton introduced “Candle” as being about a breakup with an ex to an uproarious cheer from the crowd, backed up wholeheartedly by the band as they added various insults.

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It was an hour of heartfelt slander backset perfectly with goddess level vocals that intertwined heavenly with the various strings of the mandolin and guitar and that saucy accordion.  In their own words their set is proudly about “60% abusing each other“, the mockingly excessive vitriol only serving to keep moods light as they poured through more reminiscent tunes. Performing a cover of Tame Impala’s “Eventually” before continuing through tracks from their upcoming debut album When We Fall (due in MARCH!), adding a surprise element to “When the Sun Comes Up” by calling Tony back to the stage to fulfil their stadium drum solo dreams unrehearsed (surprise!). Although it was his first time even hearing the song, the percussion erupted faultlessly to much cheering from the crowd. The tour namesake “The Devil’s Part” appropriately featured the most theatrical delivery as Elana and Georgia went back to back, Georgia strumming the mandolin in true El Dorado style.

I dare anyone to attend the remaining East Coast shows of the tour and not become immediately infatuated with their rendition of modern folk stylings, frequently interspersed with ridiculously spontaneous, comedic camaraderie. The ladies sell teaspoon merch! What other incentive could there possibly be?  It was a sensational night, the honesty of the mood so unparalleled, as Simone and Girlfunkle jokingly but succinctly put it, it truly was, “An adventure in music by the seat of your pants.

All Our Exes Live in Texas continue their tour through into November – find out where you can see them, below:

October 28th | Princess Theatre, BRISBANE
October 29th | Imperial Hotel, SYDNEY
November 3rd | Caravan Music Club, OAKLEIGH
November 4th | Music on the Hill, RED HILL
November 5th | Northcote Social Club, MELBOURNE
November 6th | Wheatsheaf Hotel, ADELAIDE

For tickets and more info, head HERE.