Abbe May

Abbe-MayAstor Theatre
Friday, July 5, 2013

Once upon a time this line-up may have seemed unlikely, but right now it all makes sense. Mei Sarasweti played to an early few, but they were transfixed as this girl danced around (the headliners) lounge room set with tennis racquet abandon, traversing continents. Sort of M.I.A. one moment, Winehouse the next. With mysterious shores throughout. Splendiferous.

Matthas followed, one of WA hip hop’s leading lights holding the growing crowd transfixed in a more fixed-gaze manner, before Rokwell & Groom brought a sense of ethereal back to the proceedings. That topped off with a headline-challenging set from The Chemist saw a unique surge of energies, all the more exciting because the main event was yet to happen.

Abbe May was topping a country-wide apocalypse with this show-ending tour. Eastern States dates saw sold-out theatre shows, and while the Astor wasn’t quite at bursting point for this event, it must be remembered that we are a bit spoilt in Perth for our doses of Abs and that she’d performed at the Perth Concert Hall just over a month ago for State Of The Art.

It was all about  a feeling of celebration, however, as May and her band (guitarist KT Rumble, keyboardist/producer Sam Ford and drummer Nic Jonsson) sauntered into Heartbeat, setting in motion an intense, yet inviting atmosphere. The set was built on numbers from the new album, it’s a direction May is committed to honour and serve, as she shrieked the peak high heights in the chorus for T.R.O.U.B.L.E. (lesser performers would totally having gone the backing track route there), Napalm, Tantric Romantic and the tour-thematic Kiss My Apocalypse.

The audience was a friendly sea of smiles, the flannelette brigade and the sisterhood in numbers, proving that May is, among other fascinating things, an equal opportunity sex symbol.

While the commitment to the Kiss My Apocalypse album may have left the main of the set perhaps a little too weighted in the doom-pop-scape, May’s always sensuous, colourific version of The Motels’ Total Control would have done Martha Davis proud, though her own singles, as proven by the subsequent Karmageddon, had hit-impact in their own right.

Encore-time saw May strap on a guitar at last, for Mammalian Locomotion and Taurus, though she gave it away to a very excited fan at the front of stage. Ending on her recently Like A Version-aired reading of Ginuwine’s Pony, May proved that she’s comfortable mixing her icons while at the same time building her own sense of orgasmic iconography. I’ll have what she’s having.