As you walked down Albert Street beside East Brunswick Club on your way to GB3’s show, where members of the band who shall remain nameless had been just moments earlier, the very conspicuous aroma of weed swirled through the air. This was a fitting way to start the night, and as the show went on, you may have found yourself bitter that you too hadn’t had the genius idea of smoking up before the show. That isn’t to say that the music needed the aid of narcotics to be enjoyed though.
Being a band that doesn’t play too often, the crowds were rolling in for this rare appearance. Unassumingly fronted by Glenn Bennie of Underground Lovers, GB3 is somewhat of an Australian super group, though its members and collaborators are as sporadic as its gigs are. At this show, Glenn was most notably joined by Philippa Nihill, also of Underground Lovers, Graham Lee of The Triffids, and, of course, Steve Kilbey. As you can imagine from the names on this bill, it was a largely over 30 crowd that filled the East Brunswick Club, though there were a few younger music lovers to be seen dotted around the room.
Steve and Philippa went roughly half and half on the singing front, both putting on equally impressive performances and upping the ante with each track that was played. Steve’s smooth timbre was still more than capable of leaving the women in the audience swooning (though it should be noted that these women were quite a bit older than they would have been when The Church were at their peak). Likewise, Philippa’s voice has aged more than gracefully, her life experience accumulated since she left Underground Lovers no doubt adding considerably to the obstinate emotion shown in her honey flavoured vocals.
Graham Lee’s slide guitar was a constant through the set, and a definite highlight of the night. Its smooth transitions and mournful swagger seemed to know exactly when to peak and when to disperse like some sort of all-knowing deity. Layered over Bennie’s always spot on guitar riffs, these guys made the perfect team, creating what seemed to be the exact right level of sound to compliment the vocals.
A somewhat more intense version of “How Do You Glow?” was a highlight of the night, though you may not have even recognised it if you were familiar with the recording. The very animated Kilbey really put it all into this one (including that gratuitous arm flailing that we’ve all come to know, love, and expect of him). As always, his sheer vocal ability and passion outshone his dorky moves though, and the audience was not disenchanted by it at all as they stood watching, hypnotized.
As the insistent drumbeat lulled to a near hush, the audience slowly came out of its daze, and this reviewer headed back out to Albert Street where the night had begun. While the smoke no longer lingered in the air and there were fewer cars to be seen, the constant drumbeat still reverberated, an echo fading in the empty street.
– Ella Jackson