It was a mix of musical genres on a cold Saturday night at the Worker’s Club, with Tessa and the Typecast playing a headline show which saw the band room get particularly packed. It was hot and sweaty inside in comparison to the freezing late autumn conditions outdoors, with many braving the frosty conditions to come down and see was sure to be the band’s last small venue gig in a while – if ever.
First up for the night was the Ben Wright-Smith Band. There appears to be a rise in popularity of country tinged music around Australia and Ben and Co do the genre justice. It’s a rare treat to see such a talented young song writer. It’s interesting to hear that he is Australian, because the lyrics (though contemporary) were reminiscent of a young Bob Dylan, full of danger and dark characters. Surely there is more inspirational material to mythologize about down under, though the alluring subject matter of the Wild West and cowboys vs. sheriffs is understandable. The band played a more acoustic set as there was a member absent, though the elevated vibrations from the cello distracted anyone from thinking they were missing out. It would be beneficial to catch them on another night when all members are accounted for.
Relatively new band on the scene Lunars were up next and they oozed the so hot right now sound of the 90s. No drummer, just two guitars and a bass, a backing drum sequencer and a tempered lead vocal channelling the better parts of Billy Corgan and Frank Black’s voices; backed up by cooing female backing vox exuding the effortless cool of the Pixies’ and The Breeders’ Kim Deal. A ukulele was brought out for a song which initially appeared a little out of place, but their sophisticated contemporary take on 90s teen angst bodes well for their fast tracking as a band to watch.
Ryan Meeking played what can only be described as folk heading for soft rock, though the real talking point was the front man himself, who displays a charming confidence on stage. He talked and joked with the audience from behind his keyboard like he was preparing himself for a European tour or television interview. His backing band also played a note perfect set, with omnipresent charm and musical perfection.
Tessa and the Typecast finally came on stage to a cheering band room and performed an utterly gorgeous set. Many could just dismiss her as another front woman and her band, thinking that this is just yet another strong female vocalist (and red-head) but they place themselves at risk of missing one of the hottest acts in town, and those who came to the gig had no doubt been hearing the buzz around Tessa and the Typecast from Triple J. This band is all sophisticated and intelligent pop.
What was most pleasing about the performance were Tessa’s vocal stylings – the way her mouth smiles like a Cheshire cat but you can see her perfectly enunciating each word. The band themselves are all crack musicians, including an adorable cellist which adds an ever so subtle but vital element to the epic sound. Their finale with the forthcoming single ‘Straight On ‘Til Morning’ starts off as demure piano driven indie pop before you realise it’s the massive hit The Strokes’ record company has been waiting to hear for the last 10 years. Those who caught this last gig before the band’s single is released in June will be congratulating themselves in a few months when Tessa and the Typecast are a very big deal.
– Hannah Joyner