It was a true night of firsts at the Corner Hotel on Wednesday night. The Jezabels’ first night of two sell-out shows, Ernest Ellis’ first show with an additional guitarist and keyboard player and We Say Bamboulee’s first ever visit to the Corner.
We say Bamboulee are two brothers and if an online biography is to be believed, a friend acquired as a result of an Ebay battle for a synth. Fresh out of Sydney, the trio – Doug Wright, Peter and Russell Fitzgibbon open the evening with their song ‘Swingsets’. We Say Bamboulee made a good impression on the early crowd with their friendly harmonious lyrics that make the world feel all good and safe again. As the set progressed, the surge of the bass added a darker feel and you begin to suspect that there was an imagined story to it.
Main support, Ernest Ellis and his band erupted into their first song with more conviction than anyone in the audience could be ready for. With two new additions to the band, it sounded like the guys are still working out their stage sound. A noticeable notch louder than the remarkably dreamy 2010 release, ‘Hunting’, Ellis and his band are sounding huge. It now makes sense why Ellis had to cancel a tour in October last year due to a swollen eardrum. Loud is good but these guys were louder than suited for such an organic kind of act so it is hoped Ellis was wearing some super expensive, specially made muso earplugs.
The stage was dark as the curtains were drawn for The Jezabels. Heather Shannon on piano, Nik Kaloper, drums and Samual Lockwood, guitar open with a thunderous wall of noise before singer Hayley Mary takes to the stage.
Any skepticism had about this band was long forgotten before the second song. It makes it even more impressive to know they are still independent and have built up their solid fan base themselves and with the help of friends. Regardless, the quality of the performance speaks for itself.
The Jezabels don’t lose the audience for a second during the entire set. Mary’s voice is the most versatile and controlled of any female vocalist this scribe has heard sing live. With the abundance of incredibly powerful female vocalists on the Australian scene at the moment such as Megan Washington and Sia Furler, Mary is a standout in originality. Certainly channeling a little Kate Bush in songs such as ‘Be a Star’, Mary is thrilling to hear sing live.
‘Long Highway’, a new, unreleased song was easily one of the highlights of the set. Shannon’s airy vocals providing wondrous harmonies, Kaloper driving the beat, Lockwood cranking out the goods on guitar while Mary let absolutely loose. The band have been quoted describing their music – accurately so – as ‘intensindie’.
In the last 10 seconds of the encore some nasty evil feedback took hold taking everyone, including the band, by complete surprise. Think three seconds of one hundred children screaming. Painful but after the band’s moment of confusion the audience are instantly forgiving, thus we can forget.
With a trio of E.Ps under their belt, The Jezabels are said to be releasing a very anticipated first LP this winter. Keep an ear out and meanwhile check them out at Groovin The Moo before they head over to the U.K next month for The Great Escape Festival.
– Joan Bone