End of Fashion /Belinda Oakley
Swan Basement / Northbank Bar
Thursday 18th November 2004
Now that Newport decided to can local music on Wednesdays in favour of ‘Live Karaoke’ (don’t ask…) the Swan on Thursdays is the best option for original music in Fremantle on a week night.
Upstairs at the Northbank Bar is possibly the best venue in town for solo acoustic acts, mainly because the size of the room which also leads to an intimate setting where you can play a low key set to drinkers and friends (you gotta bring them of course).
A regular feature at this venue is Belinda Oakley. Different to most of the acts that play here because most of her songs are played on an electric piano. The fact the songs are her own originals is brave on a night where people drink in the background and would respond more to Pete Murray covers.
Singing heartfelt songs about the difficulties of relationships, Belinda sings with such a passion that these experiences could be autobiographical or at least situations she knows she can write about.
Although she contains a lovely voice that soars and dips according to the emotion of the song, it could empower her if she worked on ennuciation of her lyrics so we can understand more what she’s on about. With a positive, friendly stage presence to top its becoming a well honed performer from the regular shows.
Downstairs at the swan Basement, there are regular Thursday night gigs and it proved to be very popular tonight as the home and hosed tour had hit the port and local favourites End of Fashion were headlining.
This reviewer missed Steve Parkin’s performance but caught a bit of Gelbsien’s set which played to an attentive audience. From interstate, they had the attention of quite a few, due to airplay on triple j. They were mellower than I expected, not too unsimilar to the styling of a band I saw the other week at Little Birdy. Not an influence but perhaps part of a sound that is becoming popular.
End of Fashion started and lead singer Justin, a Beatles fan, sounded Lennon influenced in the first few songs. I take it he’s more John than Paul. That’s not to say End of Fashion sounded like a beatles tribute band tonight – overall they are leaning more to a classic pop sound twisted in their own way.
Having not seen the band play in six months, of late I had only heard singles on the radio which haven’t impressed me of late, but live they were a different matter. They put on a fantastic show. Their familiar songs (Rough Diamonds, Too Careful etc) were the highlight, but the rest of the set was also strong.
Perhaps more writing and then a concentrated effort in the studio will pay off and they’ll reach their full potential on the recording side too.