Wednesday nights aren’t typically the premium night of the week for heading out for some late night guitar driven tunes. But thoughts of a night in and a quiet few glasses of red are put well and truly on hold when Pennsylvania’s Tigers Jaw come to town on the back of their most consistent album to date.
First up was local rockers Flossy. Fronted by sisters Sinead and Laura O’Hara, the quartet mine the homogenised sound of Triple J in the 90s. The band wear their love of grunge like a badge of honour, and although they have some melodic moments, there is nothing here that would make you turn your head. Flossy execute their songs well enough, it is just a shame that they haven’t brought their songwriting into the current century.
Sly Withers on the other hand, have a sound that is very much of the now. Their delivery and style ensures that their records could be filed nicely alongside buzz outfit The Smith Street Band. With a bunch of tunes that are punchy and bright, the local punks don’t hide from their Australian accents and tales of the suburbs. A tidy outfit with emotive vocals, and a truly impressive amount of merchandise for a bunch of locals, Sly Withers were a choice lead up act.
The second coming of Tigers Jaw (they were said to have unofficially split up in 2012) has delivered a louder sound whilst still maintaining the emo tag. The band took to the stage and launched into Favourite without even a hello. Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins locked straight into their characteristic harmonies that have been honed by over a decade of performing together. The Sun harked back to their earlier records with its timing changes and fuzzed out guitars showing the band’s full dynamic range.
Bass player Luke Schwartz defied the warm evening by appearing in a boiler suit as he pogoed around stage with his mass of hair whilst holding down the bottom end. Drummer Teddy Roberts made the other fashion statement of the night by wearing an old school George Strait t-shirt.
Walsh was in fine voice from the get go as he channeled the brokenhearted college student in us all, while showing his guitar skills during the tidy riff on Follows and the bands knack for a memorable hook during Guardian.
Two Worlds was delivered in a way that made you try to imagine what a millennial version of Teenage Fanclub would sound like. A sweat soaked Walsh reminded the crowd to “stay hydrated and look after each other”, before they changed the pace with the delicate lament of Escape Plan. Knowing they had the crowd where they wanted them, it was time for the old favourite of Chemicals that saw plenty of fists pumping and singing along.
Substitute teacher by day, Brianna Collins thanked some locals for the haircut she received in Perth during the day prior to taking lead vocal duties on June. It is the first song that she has written for Tigers Jaw and with its snappy chorus, shows that she has more than paid her dues. They continued to mine the fertile ground of tenuous relationships with the chugging I Saw Water and the Collins’ lead sing along Never Saw It Coming.
Hum was the tune that served as a brief encore for a set that was all killer and no filler for a band that are well and truly at the top of their game. This was a midweek show that was well worthy of a prime time billing.
Photos by Annie Harvey