Probably the best thing about this evening (excluding the outrageously talented The Courtneys) was the gender balance. It didn’t feel strained, it was just balanced. Let’s keep this up, support line ups like this.
Bitch Diesel opened the evening, the four-piece punk outfit a whirlwind of on-stage confidence and sass. From a sequinned dress to a black pleather body suit, they delivered seriously good tone across a seriously good set.
Melbourne’s Baby Blue get a lot of love from us, and with good reason. The group’s dreamy sound lies somewhere between folk, rock and pop, dripping in 60s vibes. Songs like “Girlfriend” had the whole crowd bopping along, each band member pensive in their own little worlds. With only half the regular members there (Rhea Caldwell and Nathanael Riley), the bass and rhythm guitar were covered by mates – you wouldn’t have known.
Hollow Everdaze were the only all-male act on the bill, yet managed to avoid being a stereotypical sort of act. They defied the normal indie-rock sort of dynamic by throwing in some keys and violin, resulting in a unique poppy-shoegaze sound. Like Baby Blue, there was an underlying groove to the set; riffs setting hips swaying and heads nodding. Vocalist Daniel Baulch was so ill that he was on some sort of combination of whiskey and cough syrup, yet still delivered a solid set, bringing the right kind of melancholy.
Without preamble, The Courtneys dove straight into “Silver Velvet”, the opening track from this year’s album The Courtneys II. Though the bandroom had been sparsely occupied for the supports, it was packed by the time the Vancouver trio took the stage.
Jen Payne presents a rare treat in the world of indie pop/rock; the ever-elusive lead singer/drummer. And she was flawless. As if her vocals weren’t divine enough, there were moments when guitarist Courtney Gavin and bassist Sydney Koke joined that raised the songs to something bigger, something swelling and heart-warming.
The minimal between song banter was largely occupied by teasing Sydney about her misadventures on the way to Australia – turns out, there’s a Melbourne in Florida. It’s alright, a few flight changes and a detour via India got the trio reunited. They’ve even asked their US booking agent if they can add Melbourne, Florida, to the next tour. It’s safe to say that they’re some of the most charming gals in music.
The set was non-stop dancing and bopping (including someone trying to start a mosh), tracks like “Lost Boys” and “Manion’” a blur behind their seamless, dreamy vocals. “We never thought we’d go [to Australia] once, let alone twice… this song’s about Australia,” gushes Jen, before launching into “Frankie”, as the last song of the set.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd wasn’t going to let the group leave without getting as many songs out of them as they could. The girls didn’t seem to be too surprised, not even leaving the stage to discuss an encore, rather just nonchalantly leaning on the guitar cab. “It feels dumb to go off the stage,” they laugh, before launching into “Tour” and “New Sunday”, a dreamy ending for a very dreamy set.
The reviewer attended this show on August 24th.