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ANGUS AND JULIA STONE

Angus and Julia Stone - Photo by Cole Maguire
Angus and Julia Stone – Photo by Cole Maguire

Vancouver Sleep Clinic

Perth Concert Hall
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prelude indie-rock act Vancouver Sleep Clinic, a “…little band from Brisbane,” was charming both musically and in their interaction with the crowd. Composed of five young lads, two guitars, two keys, drums and a lead singer/guitarist with an angelic voice, their sound is soft, sweet and eerie with enough rock soul to keep you awake. In a nutshell, their music comes right from the heart and you can see it all over their faces. They’re a bit like a much better version of Coldplay, with a semblance of Bon Iver in the mix. Check out their EP, Winter – these boys are going places.

After taking a few years apart to develop their respective solo careers, brother-sister indie-folk duo Angus and Julia Stone have come together to produce what might be their most cohesive album to date. Interestingly, this is the first album on which the duo wrote their songs together. Tuesday’s show in Perth was, put simply, wonderful; a perfect mix of old favourites from EPs and Down The Way and new tracks from their self-titled album released this year.

Lighting was simple, mostly sticking with a single colour and style for each song, yet remained effective. The crowd was for the most part fairly mellow and relaxed. Julia took position as lead vocalist for many of the tracks on the night and seemed to change her guitar with every song. Angus provided solid harmonies and a sweet performance of Yellow Brick Road. With deep and melodic tonal qualities, his voice was pitch-perfect throughout. Highlights included a vocally reworked and deeply emotive version of the love song For You and an incredible “angry” cover of You’re The One That I Want from the Grease soundtrack. Both songs showcased the strength of Julia’s unique voice, with her beautifully haunting head voice and her charming lower register, coupled with the various not-quite-explainable quirks that make her voice so memorable.

On the subject of quirky, the song Other Things with the lyrics of “…go put the cat outside, ‘cos we’ve got things to do” segued into a rather flouncy, yet strangely satisfying, version of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Other tracks from the new album included Main Street, which sprung from a childhood event – don’t worry we won’t tell K-Mart your secret – Heart Beats Slow, Death Defying Acts, A Heartbreak, My Word For It and Wherever You Are. Additional old gold included Chocolates And Cigarettes and, to end the night, an encore performance of the tragic love song Santa Monica Dream, with the duo alone on stage, accompanied only by a guitar each and the deep satisfaction of a sell-out crowd.

SARAH REA