« x »



Foam/Jim Lawrie

Mojos Bar

Sunday, June 27, 2014

There was a distinct air of throwback to the music filling Mojos this chilly Sunday evening.

We opened with Jim Lawrie’s sweet rustic numbers. Bespectacled and with tufts of straw-like hair protruding from his red beanie, Lawrie cut a slightly apologetic, distracted figure during in between song banter, before resuming his hypnosis of the crowd, his immaculate chords and Gram Parsons croon filling the room’s every corner. He was joined mid-set by Rob of Saskwatch, whose glowing fills added heft and depth to Lawrie’s gentle ruminations, particularly the Panics-like Midnight Run, a broad, dreamlike saunter. There’s a little Ryan Adams to his weary phrasing and some Springsteen in his bittersweet nostalgia (see Good Old Days).

Local Lads Foam followed, the squealing, feedback-drenched opening chord of their set jarring us from the reverie of Lawrie’s gentle melancholy. The tone of savage, unrelenting intensity was set. They are perhaps an odd choice for the bill given the other acts, a fact acknowledged by lead singer Joel Martin – a gesture which seemed to break the ice, quickly warming the hitherto subdued crowd.  The desperate energy, the howling vocals and the flailing hair of this grungy three piece invites an obvious comparison to Nirvana. This becomes unavoidable on All My Friends, their lead single, with its drawling howl peppered with vicious energy and lacerating power chords. They are undeniably powerful, but perhaps beholden to early ’90s alternative to a fault. Only on the brilliant So Far So Good (creeping Iggy Pop vocals and driving sinewy refrain) did I really feel the band’s own sound had overwhelmed that of their influences.

By the time Saskwatch took the stage, Mojos was packed. They had cleared the tables and chairs from the floor, leaving your humble reviewer scrambling to find a place to balance my drink every time I made notes, and spoke of the venue’s expectation that our headliners would necessitate a dance floor. This was correct.

Lead singer Nkechi Anele is an effortlessly arresting figure, snaking, rolling and twisting her way across the stage, her every fiber fused with the music – face contorted into a snarl on the angry dejection of Left Me To Die, allowing herself a mischievous, expectant smile on the heavenly flirt of Now We’re Alone. When she ended the exquisite ballad Call Your Name with the line ‘I’m filled with regret’ it was so lived in, so felt that it almost seemed inappropriate to cheer.  The brass section spat out an array of riffs – staccato and rhythmic here, a glowing comet’s tail there and occasionally a loving purloin from a classic soul track such as the fluorescent Your Love’s clear debt to Heatwave. Two Hearts showcased the seamless interplay between bass and guitar; somehow both a solid anchor and feather-light ornament. After they closed with a strutting, stonesy take on Jagwar Ma’s Let Her Go, and exited the stage they left behind an audience warmed, satisfied and no doubt slightly smitten.





« x »