Chevron Festival Gardens
Sunday, February 19, 2017
One of the better moves that the Perth International Arts Festival has made this year is to include support acts to the shows at the Chevron Festival Gardens. The venue is only part of the landscape for an all too brief period each year, so giving punters any excuse to spend as long as possible in the venue is a good one. The opening act on this night was Brisbane via Melbourne singer Gabriella Cohen and her band.
There is something charming and unpretentious about Cohen, who walked on stage looking like an earthy Katy Steele without the glamour. The group didn’t take themselves too seriously as they worked through a set of pop songs that are skewed away from radio, yet delivered with authenticity. With a tip of the hat to Dylan here and a blues influence there, Cohen played through a set that drew tunes from her debut Full Closure And No Details that highlighted her guitar prowess and unique voice.
Warpaint came to the stage oozing every bit of their Los Angeles cool as they deftly kicked things off with the aptly titled Intro. Theresa Wayman assisted Stella Mozgawa on the drum kit while the rest of the band continued a chic version of Keep It Healthy. Soon after Emily Kokal put down her guitar to strut her stuff across the stage as she dance and swayed her way through Undertow, the song that first pricked up peoples ears to the stylish quartet in the first place.
There wasn’t too much of a reliance on the new album with Warpaint pulling material from all and sundry, whether it be the stand alone single No Way Out or as far back as Elephants from the Exquisite Corpse EP. Bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg was the member that appeared to be having the most fun as she danced her way through each tune, breaking into a smile regularly and nailing down the bottom end with tidy bass runs.
The Heads Up album is Warpaint’s most collaborative effort with all members contributing to the tunes. To show this new found freedom, Wayman strapped on a bass guitar whilst Lindberg took over guitar duties for the understated groove of So Good. The band moved from their moodier moments towards their most melodic as they navigated their way through the set with Mozgawa switching beats and rhythms at will. Few drummers can compare.
Warpaint threw their reputation on its head last year when they released the disco-tinged New Song. It is a far more impressive number when played live as Emily Kokal strutted around the stage with confidence during a tune that had the cheese stripped back and there is more meat added to its bones than was to be expected. Continuing the theme of keeping the dance floor ticking over, Disco//Very gave a beat heavy ending to a performance that enhanced the standing of a band that continue to push themselves musically while maintaining a sense of aloof grandeur.