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Patient Little Sister

Patient Little Sister by Rachael Barrett
Patient Little Sister by Rachael Barrett

Patient Little Sister/Childsaint/Husband

Moana Coffee

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Moana is on the east end of Hay Street Mall. Tucked away in one of the few remaining old buildings on the strip, it sits in a cosy little upstairs alfresco. Coffee shop by day, the tiny place plays host to local acts and functions when the sun goes down. Tonight is all about indie-folk.

The stage sits on one end of the creaking balcony. Milk crates with plasterboard on top, it somehow holds up a drum kit and a few amps. There’s barely enough room to stand, and while the opening acts will look cramped enough with two people each, Patient Little Sister will fit four people in a corner.

The first opening act, Husband, is warm and cosy American-style folk. Between jokes about VB marketing, frontman Michael Paolino strums some hearty chords and croons about broken hearts. Good at it as he is, it all sounds pretty samey, both in three-chord structure and lyrical focus. While not incredible, it is consistent, and he knows his voice well enough to wring everything out of it, even if it thins out a little on the high end.

Childsaint take the stage next, a feisty female guitar duo. These two tear it up with a dark mix of eerie minor chord harmonies and warped pedal noise and, despite a lack of percussion, bring about a very nicely rounded sound with some cold, catchy tunes. Normally a four piece, the Childsaint performing tonight is the original duo, and they show a real comfortable familiarity, laughing as they swap instruments a few times.

I last saw Patient Little Sister three years ago opening for a local psych-roch act. Back then, it was just Eliza and James Rogers; an acoustic guitar, the sweet musky caw of the violin and the harrowing harmony of their voices. Now adding a drummer and a bassist, the latter of which also provides some sweet extra harmonies, they’re sounding even better. There’s not many local opening acts I remember from three years ago, and tonight they remind me why I did.

Reminiscent in some ways of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Patient Little Sister is warm, earnest and earthy. A mix of family style jams and festive season sing-alongs, it’s easy to get swept up in the moment. With absolutely no room to move, they command an impressive stage presence, even with the bassist hiding behind a speaker tower.

PLS draw on a more rural, Aus-influenced folk bent than the more American styled Husband. It’s more than the ho-down throw-down vibe that a band with a violin brings, it’s the earnest enthusiasm and friendly nature of their stage presence. Also I think the drummer’s mum is here, taking flash-photos with a point and shoot. PLS mix a few of their old ones, songs off their single that tonight is launching, and brand new works, probably the closest folk can come to a banger.

SIMON DONNES

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