A unique conceptual experience, Open Minds Music’s You Saw Them First! at Freo.Social provides a combination of a dinner-and-show experience with the opportunity for up-and-coming artists to perform on stage and showcase their music with the Open Minds’ band. The event provides the ‘dinner and a show’ venue that Perth has lacked for the past decade, right in the heart of Fremantle, and its launch definitely did not disappoint.
The performers were well-curated and represented a variety of genres to please everyone. The atmosphere was mostly relaxed and fun, with warm circular orbs illuminating each dinner table and a large pineapple bush fittingly decorating the stage. This was facilitated by the MC, multiple WAM award winner Timothy Nelson, who was entertaining but sometimes a little too dry in his humour which left some awkward pauses within the audience. The house band, the Open Minds Band, were more memorable; they played smoothly, highlighting each of the individual performer’s strengths… only later did we find out they had not even practised with the solo artists.
Alex Daniel opened with her melodic yet emotionally-fuelled R&B and pop-inspired tunes, telling stories and transporting the audience to a different setting with each song.
The second act, Sauvage, complemented the atmosphere that Daniel had created in her self-reflective sweet but striking songs on the ukulele. In her music, she covers the rawness of youth and the LGBT experience, topics that seemed relatable to many queer members of the audience and provided insights into dating and unrequited love as a queer millennial, pairing this with catchy tunes.
Sauvage was followed by Cam Ellis’ hauntingly pure country melodies, which provided a nice contrast to the atmosphere of cheerful yet pensive music that had preceded it. Ellis’ voice and stage presence evoked many a nostalgic memory and seemed to resonate with the audience.
The final and only established act, headliner Jamilla, tied the event together perfectly. With her chilled, R&B beats, self-made production and distinctive stage presence, Jamilla was able to create a remarkable atmosphere and captivate the audience. Combining emotive lyrics about topics such as casual sex and politics with her hauntingly beautiful voice and synth beats, her performance provided the perfect closing to the launch.
Through Open Minds Music’s You Saw Them First!, Freo.Social provides an all-inclusive event for individuals who want to ‘class up’ their week and enjoy a night of dinner and entertainment that this author would definitely recommend. Simultaneously, it provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talent to both industry professionals and dinner guests; a win-win for all parties.
Photos by Adrian Thomson