Scarab single launch @ Jack Rabbit Slims
with The Chlorines, Marmalade Mama, Yomi Ship
Friday, February 24 2017
If you haven’t seen Moana Lutton perform as part of her band Moana before, you really should. Whether you are a lover of music, an appreciator of women, a feminist, a woman or just a person. Moana’s role in society as a strong, creative, talented female, who makes no excuses, is an important and much needed one.
To say she is a formidable frontwoman would be an understatement. She is also an immensely talented performer, writer and musician. Friday night at Jack Rabbit Slim’s for the release of the band’s new single Scarab, showcased all of these talents and much more, it was a raucous night of debauchery, for all those lucky enough to attend.
The night started off with Yomi Ship who set the pace with an instrumental set showcasing their psychedelic prowess in the very form it was intended – guitar driven, intricate fast passed solos, creative reverb as well as imaginative use of key and time signature changes – in fact, it was a schooling on how intelligent psych should be done.
Next up was Marmalade Mama, who also gravitated towards psych rock, though they have also evidently got strong roots in American style blues- which is especially apparent in the singing styles of frontman Patrick Smith. The band are not backward in coming forward, in both musical stylings, and personality, with Smith yelling at his bandmate over the mic “don’t be picky cunt” and to the crowd “what a fucken loose party” the night would be. The band gel really well together and this translates on stage so well that at times it is like you are watching a private jam session.
The Chlorines were up next and proved a nice change of pace with a more understated, ambient and yielding set. The band nods towards the more classic side of alternative rock, post punk and folk, showcasing well thought out songs that dive and fly poetically. And all this with a fistful of punk pose added in for good measure. A video running throughout their set, put together by the band, added a nice touch and really rammed home the idea that beauty is in the detail.
It was the perfect warm up for Moana, who were anything but understated. The spaces in Jack Rabbit Slims filled out nicely with adoring fans, and the diversity of the crowd must be noted, which reflects their music in that it transcends genres, styles and scenes.
Moana and (most of her) band entered the stage all in black – black leather, black capes, black clothes, black feathers, black bra and with faces adorned with glitter. It is half Kiss and half Joan Jett, with a big splash of Perth indie. They start off atmospherically as Moana pranced around the stage like a majestic tribal warrior – her stage prowess is theatrical and she moves her body and hands with the skill of a first class actor and the soul of a spiritual leader. She half talks, half howls through songs. It was the perfect way to set up the set.
The next few songs were heavier – with three guitars, drums, flute and cello, the sound was full and round, ranging from dark alt rock, grunge, resonate psychedelic , blues and even encompassing hints of metal and post rock.
A particular highlight was the flute solo by none other than Moana’s mum – proving no matter how wild, dark or cool you are – there should always be room for your mum, and Moana’s mum rocks. It is this kind of variety and unpredictability that makes Moana so hard to define and gives her the edge over many counterparts.
The band belted through Magenta Dust, The Killer, My Girl and Elephant Bones as well as some newer tracks which saw Moana have a turn on the keyboard, nicely adding another dimension and cementing her skills as a musician. The songs weaved, burrowed and sailed, keeping the crowd transfixed and on edge throughout.
The set ended with new single Scarab, and the song nicely encapsulates what they are about and their new direction. It is wild, angry, and dirty but also clever.
The band members and sounds work really well together, and their skill at making beautiful music is obvious, though it would be nice to see Moana really become the focal point, for the rest of the band to abate a little and really allow Moana’s magic to be the pivot. At times there is so much going on on stage that you are not sure who to look at, and your eye gets led away from Moana – which it really shouldn’t, because she is that magical.
The band’s sound has matured, becoming heavier, disparate and more complex over the last year or so. There is an onslaught of guitar and lyrics being spat at you, in the best way. Moana yelling with full vitriol, “I am your destructor,” seemed like a perfect way to sum up the show They are destructors of boundaries and expectations, are creative progress, and as such, Perth and WA should feel immensely proud and lucky to call them theirs.
Pics by Dana Weeks