Noah Dillon @ Mojos
w/ Nika Mo
Saturday, July 4, 2020
There were few better ways to celebrate the return of live music to Perth than Noah Dillon’s double show at Mojos last Saturday. Initially supposed to be part of the first round of live gigs happening under phase three of WA’s coronavirus restrictions, the gig had been planned as a seated event for an audience of only 50. It quickly sold out, and a second show was added that night as live music lovers rushed at the opportunity to attend one of the first post-isolation gigs. But as the state’s infection rate has continued to blip around zero, restrictions have further eased and both shows were expanded to a limited standing capacity.
At 7pm Mojos flung its doors open for Perth indie songwriter Nika Mo to open the night. Nika and her band’s melodic blend of folk-rock is captivating from the first chord. Backed by soft trebly guitars, her poetic songwriting takes its inspiration from moments of everyday life. Songs Exist and November 1990 Girl off her 2019 debut EP were absolute highlights and set a warm and intimate atmosphere for the night. Nika has the extraordinary ability to find the art in the ordinary and create magic in the things we all see to be boring and mundane. It’s the kind of music that could only come out of a city like Perth.
All things considered, Noah Dillon has had a pretty impressive first half of 2020. The band were listed as Triple J’s Unearthed feature artist in May following the release of single Matthew McConaughey which received five star reviews from the Triple J team. They also played in the first iteration of the Isol-Aid online festival which attracted thousands of viewers from around the country. Amongst all this they also apparently had time to tighten up and perfect their live act.
Noah delivered a forty-minute set that was powerful, fast-paced and left you wanting to hang around for more. The band featured songs from across their three-year career but it was the most recent releases that really stood out as performance highlights. Brand new single Sunburnt in July combines Pixies-esque loud-quiet dynamics with pop hooks, frenzied distorted guitars and Noah’s totally unique lyricism which explores the idea of authenticity through the metaphor of sunburn. It is potentially the strongest offering that Dillon has put up to date and you’d have to have been stone deaf to not find yourself dancing.
The set also featured a solo performance of a couple of new, yet to be released, songs. The stripped back songs provided an opportunity to take in the raw yet conversational honesty that is present across all of Noah’s lyrics. It is a style reflective of other artists like Courtney Barnett and Snail Mail that also rings with an originality and looseness of its own.
Throwing himself about about onstage in a kind of boiler-suit, Noah also made for an energetic live performer. Restrictions were still in place, so Mojos was not as packed as you’d normally expect from a pre-covid ‘sold out’ gig. Despite this, the atmosphere was electric, and the band had everyone moving. It was only a couple of months ago that Mojos was relying on a GoFundMe for survival and the mood on Saturday night was one of celebration, triumph, and a testament to the strength and quality of the Perth music scene.
Photos by Linda Dunjey