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Simone & Girlfunkle

Simone & Girlfunkle - Photo by Stefan CaramiaPICA Bar
Friday, August 30, 2013

To say the weather was wild last Friday night would be an understatement. This reviewer got stuck in his car waiting for the heavy rain to ease a bit and, when it finally did, ran to the venue almost in time to catch the beginning of The Dianas’ set.

PICA Bar only recently re-opened its doors full time to bands and music acts and those of us who remember it as a regular venue a long while ago should welcome this fact. It was never the best venue acoustically, but it’s nice and cosy and right in the middle of a Cultural Centre that is often anything but on Friday/Saturday nights.

The place was packed from early on and it stayed like that until the end of the show. One of its advantages is that the punters who come to fully enjoy the show can get right up close to the stage without feeling uncomfortable, while others can still enjoy the music from the back end of the room.

By the time The Dianas played their new single, Cruelty, it was obvious why they are considered one of the hottest acts in Perth at the moment – their spontaneity eliminates any technical disadvantages. Add great song writing/structuring skills and you get a great band as a result. They went smoothly from quiet to loud bits and musically from dreamy ‘60s pop to psychedelic rock, without sounding too cheesy, trendy or retro for retro’s sake.

Speaking of retro, The High Learys are the epitome of the term in the best possible way. In just over 30 minutes they went through a set consisting of mostly covers, spiced up with some original materials. While it was great to see a Perth band doing Leiber/Stoller’s Love Potion No. 9 or Rufus Thomas’s Walking the Dog, it would have been far better if the High Learys stuck to equally exciting originals. Needless to say, the whole set was performed immaculately and Johnny B. Goode was the perfect party closer.

But the party was not over yet and while it might have seemed hard for a pop band to go on stage after a full-throttle ‘60s garage beat combo, tonight it worked just fine! Simone & Girlfunkle know how to write perfect pop songs and even better, they know how to juggle between upbeat and slow numbers without losing the audience’s attention, although the quieter moments got a bit lost amongst the crowd’s loud chatter occasionally.

The ever changing/ever expanding line up this time included seven people on stage, often swapping instruments and vocal duties. These magnificent seven of Perth pop got the punters eating from the palms of their hands with seductive, often slightly melancholic, yet always uplifting melodies.
It seems that this city produces a real great pop band every couple of years or so. Most of them do not last too long before they lose themselves in everyday life and the inability to find some long term solution for their existence. Here’s hoping Simone and Girlfunkle do not repeat the same mistakes as bands before them

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