The early 90s was a time when women in bands weren’t whimsical folk singers with an aversion to crunchy sounding guitars. Two of the finest exponents of guitar pop from this era reformed and joined forces on a stroll down memory lane last Friday.
Before either of the eastern states draw cards appeared, local four piece Verge Collection played to the early arrivers. With strong tunes like For The Story, it is clear why Verge Collection are considered the best young pop act doing the rounds. Their debut album can not come soon enough.
Having rarely seen a stage in over two decades, Falling Joys were a sight for sore eyes on their long awaited (and somewhat surprising) return. Very little had changed in the way of the band members’ haircuts or their rough and ready approach to the tunes. The mix did the band no favours early as Breakaway became a fuzzy mess, but things improved with the pristine melody of Nearly A Sin. The band were happy to shake things up with a slowed down intro to Jennifer which threw off its lacklustre beginnings before too long.
The Canberra come Sydney quartet reminded all of the swag of great tunes from their heyday with Shelter and Parachute being highlights. Andrea Croft (The Honeys) was called to the stage to join Suzie Higgie on vocal duties for Puppy Drink. The sweetly toned local remained on stage, and was also joined by another of Falling Joys’ mates, Matt de la Hunty for the bands biggest hit Lock It and what it lacked in polish it made up for in gusto. Pat Hayes threatened to steal the show as he led the hook heavy You’re In A Mess, before Higgie stamped her authority on a high octane Black Bandages. Although they would have been better suited to a smaller stage, it was good to see Falling Joys back in the saddle.
The Clouds sold more records than their peers and became deserved darlings of the festival circuit. It was clear from the opening of Here Now, that Jodi Phillis and Patricia Young had lost none of their vocal chemistry. The first half of the set was churned through at a cracking pace with Young playfully chastising her band members for playing way to fast. This nervous energy made for loud and energetic takes on Wednesday Night and Foxes Wedding.
It is clear that Phillis is running the show with her confident guitar playing and forceful lead vocals, but it was Dave Easton who took centre stage. The tall guitarist became the focal point as he glided from one lead break to another and worked up a considerable sweat along the way – all without muttering a word to the crowd for the whole evening.
The Clouds are clearly taking this run of shows seriously as they have new material on show including the chugging Check Us Out and the dance floor oriented soul of Beautiful Nothingness.
There was a volume to The Clouds that wasn’t evident in their earliest incarnations, but it didn’t dampen the soaring melodies of much loved hits like Hieronymus and Say It. Still, while The Clouds may have taken the chocolates this evening with their tight and impressive performance, it is the Falling Joys who can claim to have the better tunes.
Photos by Alfred Gorman