An early night at The Zoo, with LITTLE PLANES LAND kicking off proceedings at 7:45 to a small but appreciative audience. Jen Boyce (also of Ball Park Music) starts her set with a beautiful vocal only track, showing considerable control of her voice, a mixture of Carol King & Christine McVie, set in a higher register. This song has a real wow factor, and was easily the standout of her set. For the remainder of her series of indie folk tunes, she accompanies herself on ukulele. Unsurprisingly, considering her chosen stage moniker, there is a song regarding ‘conspiracy theories about planes’. She also makes a point of showing off her impressive broccoli-print pants, and offers to give punters a better look if they buy a raffle ticket after her show.
FOXSMITH are a guitar/bass/keys three-piece tonight. As they explain later, their drummer is currently backpacking around Europe. Their music is a mixture of The Church and The Cure, with Charlie & Emma swapping lead vocal duties throughout the set. The audience is beginning to get a little more active, with a few dancers and one punter even blowing bubbles across the stage. FOXSMITH experiment with a drum machine on a few songs, but it’s clear their music is missing having a real drummer. Nevertheless, the band is fun and the crowd enjoys the music. Their only real misstep is an under- rehearsed rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’, which pales in comparison to their originals.
GALAPOGOS begin their four song set with a long instrumental introduction, accompanied by a video backdrop of their album art. Frontman Dan Newton spends most of the set with his eyes closed, lost in the music. On their debut album, GALAPOGOS was a pop band, but live they’re a cross between Slowdive and The Doors. “Do we have your permission to play something new?” Newton asks the audience, “This one’s for Patti Smith.” And the band launch into an epic shoegaze instrumental, while Newton delivers a stream- of-conscious, Jim Morrison-esque rant over the top. “We’re all a bunch of fucking slaves!” he screams. It’s utterly thrilling to witness. The band play almost completely stationery, but there are a few dancers in the audience. For the most part, the punters don’t really seem to know what to make of GALAPOGOS, they’re certainly different to everything else on offer this evening. After impassioned thankyous to the other bands on the bill, and the audience, Newton proclaims ‘I’m gonna go home and take a fucking bath!” And with that, GALAPOGOS disappear.
THE HALLS hang extra stage lighting before their set, small trees and hanging lights adorn the stage and their instruments, while bassist & vocalist Bec Wolfers arrives wearing a crown of flowers. The first song sees her foot up on the foldback while she sings in a voice that’s a cross between Delores O’Riordan and Melissa Auf Der Maur. THE HALLS are easily the most visually animated band of the evening, with plenty of headbanging and jumping around onstage. Images of flowers blossom on the video screen behind the band and Wolfers invites the audience to come down the front to become ‘one big consciousness’. The crowd eagerly responds to her request, and for the first time this evening is on its feet and fully focussed at the front of the venue. Musically, THE HALLS are a mixture of muscular riffs and jangle pop. ‘He just wants to get fucked’ is all angry, metallic rock, while single ‘Dancing On Your Grave’ is sighing and almost resigned in comparison, sounding like mid 80’s era U2. There’s even a song that features a whistling section, a brave move in a live situation, but they pull it off. A male fan throws his underwear at Wolfers during the set, and I’m unsure if it’s a friend of the band having a laugh, or something slightly more inappropriate. Either way, if tonight’s performance is anything to go by I doubt it’s the last time she’ll get that sort of attention from an admirer. ‘Bodyshock’ ends up being the highlight of THE HALLS’ set, its epic sweep and long instrumental passages are lapped up by the appreciative audience.
Overall, it’s been a great night out and I’ve witnessed some fantastic music (even bought The Halls’ EP, which I recommend you pick up). THE HALLS and GALAPOGOS are bands to watch out for, their live sets are unlike anything else Brisbane has to offer at the moment. FOXSMITH were enjoyable, but I’d like to see them with their full lineup sometime. LITTLE PLANES LAND is bound to make waves in indie pop and folk circles, and regardless of whether you like that style of music or not, Jen Boyce’s voice is something to behold.
Review By Clint Morrow
Galapogos and The Halls Photos by Alison Martin from Nerves Like Steel Photography (all images copyright to Nerves Like Steel)
Foxsmith Photo courtesy of Emma Walton, Kassie Sofia and Charlie Farmer
Event Poster by Bec Wolfers
The Halls – http://facebook.com/thehallsband
Galapogos – http://www.facebook.com/galapogosbrisbane
Foxsmith – http://www.facebook.com/foxsmithmusic
Little Planes Land – http://www.facebook.com/LittlePlanesLand