Eskimo Joe @ Perth Concert Hall

Xpress 20th Birthday Party
Eskimo Joe/ End of Fashion/ Karnivool/ Downsyde/ The Avenues
Perth Concert Hall
Friday August 19th
Review By Leo Abbs

It may have been xpress 20th birthday party tonight, which is a long time period, but it has also been of some length since I’d seen Eskimo Joe play live. On the train to the city before the show, I realised I hadn’t seen them since last millennium.

Tonight’s show at the concert hall was a seated affair, an experience I have not had since fourth floor collapse’s ‘half deserted streets’ cd launch in 2001. For some bands it worked to their advantage for example Eskimo Joe where the crowd was happy to sit and listen but with bands like Karnivool it was hard for fans to get into the music while sitting down. During the whole night was annoying that some people stood and other’s didn’t.

The Avenues opened the show tonight, perhaps the least known of the bands tonight, despite Triple J airplay. It appears Andy Lawson has taken over more of the vocal duties and that’s a positive as he definitely showed the better singer tonight . He also seemed to have better stage presence but seemed to be trying too hard to rock in a pop band.

Most of Downysde’s set I was outside at the bar, but when I came back in for the last few songs, there were lots of people getting into, standing up and dancing. None of them looked over 16.

Karnivool
rarely play to to sitting down crowds, so it felt unusual to be seated during their set, the heaviest of the night. Guitarist was plagued by amp problems an disappeared offstage for one entire song, and while his amp was getting replace. That let the band down a bit but they at least had a second guitarist and the songs were basically there. Kenny’s stage presence left a friend to comment ‘The singer is a bit of nutter’. Despite technical problem I’m sure the band would have gained some new fans.

Besides Karnivool’s technical problems the other big disappointment tonight was End of Fashion. Sure their album is coming out and ‘oh yeah’ is all over the radio, tonight’s set seemed to highlighted that they don’t have enough good songs in the set. Their stage prescence is enjoyable, but the fact is their two biggest songs – one sounds like a hey jude rip off and the latest single, while being catchy is hell, surely they could have thought of better lyrics than ‘O Yeah’, makes me wonder if they are that good.

Like I said earlier, it’s been yonks since I last saw Eskimo Joe, so it would be interesting to see the difference between their early gigs and tonight’s end of multi platinum selling album tour gig.

They opened with the first song of their latest album ‘come down’. And it featured a neat change of Stu switching from acoustic to electric guitar mid song, thanks to the aid of the guitar tech. The stage crew were kept very busy tonight with the instrument swapping.

Majority of the set came from ‘A song is a city; and why not? Besides being a big seller it has some stand out pop tunes Don’t Let it fly, Better with you and Car Crash featuring local muso and friend of the Joe’s, Steve Parkin on vocals, who left the stage telling the crowd, ‘Eskimo Joe – the best band in Australia’.

Lead vocalist Kav had the crowd eating out of his hands, especially when he got everyone to wave their mobiles in the dark in replacement of lighters for a slow song. It was quite a moment. Then when he managed to get the whole crowd to stand for the last song, their biggest hit ‘From The Sea’, you noticed that how big this band had come.

There is no doubt that they shit over that joke band that once sang about jumpers.

Live Review: Little Birdy @ Mojo’s

Little Birdy/ The Avenues/ Bob Evans
Mojo’s

Review by Leo Abbs

This was advertised a ‘secret’ gig and of course like any other secret show i’ve heard about in the Perth Scene enough people knew about it to be well attended and in this case of the small (but fine) venue it meant it was sold out.

Bob Evans in case you are new to Perth Music or just don’t give a shit about his band, is the guy from Jebediah. He doesn’t play anything Jebediah related in fact would probably prefer not to be mentioned as ‘the guy from Jebediah’ in relation to his solo stuff, but too bad I’ve said it already.

Anyway Bob’s set was short and he jumped straight into it with ‘Live For Today’ in my eyes the best track from his album ‘suburban kid’. He’s looking a lot older than a kid these days mind you but that’s good as if he’s going to do this solo ‘personal’ stuff it’s good he’s got some life experience under his belt. What I thought let him down tonight and on most occasions is that he just runs through the songs without introducing them. Now these songs have a bit of depth to them and with his sing thru the nose, not pronuncing the words properly, style it’d be helpful to at least know what the title was on occasion. Also what ever happened to having the set list on the back of the guitar? I thought that was his trademark. A friend of mine believes that it’s not a setlist it’s just numbers – numbers of the fret where the capo goes for each song.

He played some new songs tonight which all seemed to be abouthis love life. Now love is a very interesting topic but when it’s done to death by musicians it’s good not to rely on it too much. That’ s why the suburbuan kid album was fantastic – there was more than just love songs (stevie’s song for instance is brilliant) and variety is the spice of life isn’t it?

The Avenues (or the average news as one punter said). played next and I spent more time in the beer garden, but describing that, would make a crap review.

I saw some of Little Birdy’s set, but it’s hard to properly review a band when you’ve got your mind set on the train timetable. They had a home crowd tonight with many of the crowd being friends of the band. After seeing Katie play the week before it was annoying to hear ‘it’s great to be in freo’ again – You may as well say ‘YOU ROCK CLEVELAND’! While they were playing hit after hit – Katie seemed to be trying to hard to get the crowd into it. I can’t help but feel that if the crowd wants to sing along they will.

However, Little Birdy are a quality pop act just don’t go expecting more.

Andy (Body of John) @ Tropicana Cafe

It’s nice when you can see spot someone you’ve been meaning to see to play for a while, especially when it’s at a cafe on a Monday. Yes, original music on a Monday at lunchtime. I walked past Tropicana Cafe in high St, Fremantle the other day to hear Andy from The Body Of John playing a solo acoustic set.

Dressed in black, his voice gave a different soundtrack to the cafe,. Swaying from side to side as he played his songs, he wasn’t fussed by the small crowd of luncheaters, he just played. His songs told of stories you could relate more to the blues rather than the postpunk sound of his voice.

Normally a vocalist/guitarist in a pub rock, this was an interesting way to hear Andy’s songs.

snowman / Katie Steele / Mo Wilson

Short Reviews by Leo Abbs

Wednesday
I headed to Curtin Uni to catch Snowman. After their recent Interpol support, it felt like quite a privilege to see the band play. The sound however wasn’t quite a privilege but of what I saw (3 or 4 songs), I enjoyed. As someone commented – this may be the last time ever, Snowman play for free.

Thursday
Tonight Katie Steele (Little Birdy) was playing a solo show at the Norfolk in Fremantle. Sitting on the stage it was a nice way to spend Thursday evening – good to see some original music back in Central Fremantle. Katie didn’t let us down and there was plenty of chances to hear some new tunes as well as album favourites.

Saturday
Was at the Swan to see Mo Wilson and The Drivers which turned to be the pick of all the music I saw live this week. First time I’ve seen them play but they really impressed me. I’m not sure how to describe them. The singing has a dark edge and the piano is a dominant feature, backed up by some bluesy guitar and a proficient rhythm section.

Leo Abbs