Saturday, 28 September 2013

Gig Review - Ngaiire, Lester The Fierce and We Are The Brave

Live @ the Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (21/09/13)
Supported by Lester The Fierce and We Are The Brave
Words by Jo Michelmore
Pics by Cordell Sanders

Sometimes life works out perfectly and when it does it's best to not question and just enjoy it. This happened to me last week, when I just happened to be in Melbourne for the weekend and I got to do numerous things I'd never done before.

One of those things was go to the Northcote Social Club. As someone who doesn't live in Melbourne, it was a venue I'd heard of often but had never been to myself. What an interesting little spot. Finding the door was a challenge in itself but once inside, I had a choice: left or right. On my left? A giant screen showing football and hordes of people with their eyes glued to the screen (that city really is a bit crazy about the football, isn't it? It's not a myth, how intriguing!) and to my right a small brightly lit area with a pool table. I chose left, I don't know why, but I did. This resulted in repeating "excuse me" over and over, a couple of grunts from the punters and a lot of personal space issues. Left was clearly the wrong choice. This resulted in spinning around, returning to where I had come from and repeating "excuse me" over and over, a couple of grunts from the punters and a lot of personal space issues...

Once I finally found the room that was to host the magic, another thing I've never done before, I found myself a bench seat at the back of the room and decided to watch the gig from there. From there I'd get to let the fabulous wash over me and watch how the Melbourne punters do gigs. Were they there for the music or the bar? It wasn't a question I was going to be able to answer with the first band, We Are The Brave, who played to a room of let's be generous and say, twelve people(?), but the way they played was something I admire in a support band; they played like they meant it. The room could have been filled to capacity and I have no doubt they would have owned the stage in a similar fashion, full of energy and spark, creating a dream pop/rock sound that made me sit up and take notice.

Playing tracks from their debut EP Noctua, including their current single 'Sparrow' and the song that really grabbed my attention 'All Good Things Must Come To An End'; Jess Chalker, Nathan Cunial and friends told us of their love of 80s films, threw in an admirable cover of Stevie Nicks' 'Edge Of Seventeen' and Blondie's 'Heart Of Glass' and proved they were a band I'd like to hear more of (which I have after buying their EP after the gig!) I was so glad I made the effort to find this little room in the Northcote and be one of a few to witness their magic. By the end of the set I'd say the audience had doubled and the ones that bothered to make their way away from the football screens were the lucky ones.

After Matt introduced me to the awesome sounds of Lester The Fierce only a couple of weeks ago, I was excited to see the tiny girl with a style and presence bigger than the venue take the small stage. It only took twenty minutes or so for the band to set up and the room to fill, but the usual invisible line in front of the stage formed, creating that space that always forms at these types of gigs, until Anita Lester herself asked everyone to move forward and Lester The Fierce powered through a set of so many songs I loved, so many songs I didn't yet know intimately but definitely know I'm a fan of now. The haunting tones of 'Holland', the first song she wrote as Lester The Fierce were almost spooky, 'Volcano' which she explained as "a song about sex" was beyond what I'd heard on the EP, such a strong track, it made such an impression I crave to see it live again.

Although I expected to like Lester The Fierce, I had no idea just how much I would be taken by the incredible vocal of Anita and the charm of her motley gang of musicians that made up her band. I adored her chat about each song she sung; 'London' she explained was a song called London but written about New York and before what was probably my favourite song of the evening she spoke of being told if a song is too confronting to sing it's probably the best song. Whoever told her that was a wise person, because 'Oh Father' was astonishing, a piece of pop I absolutely adored. They finish with their current single 'Howl' and I sit back down on my bench seat knowing I've a new minor obsession, Lester The Fierce will be one of my favourite new musicians of this year.

Ngaiire is quite simply, delightful. I took my place on top of the bench seat I'd secured for the night because I knew this was a show I didn't want to miss a second of, as she took the stage in a combination of clothes that was bizarre and magnificent, a denim jacket, a hair piece constructed of what I think were plastic palm trees(?) and pom poms hanging from her boots, magnificent is probably the best word to describe her look and her sound, she was incredible, a person clearly born for the stage and born to perform.

She began with 'Rabbit Hole' and immediately her immense talent is evident, her voice so strong and her presence undeniable, her second song described as "as song I wrote when I was angry, it's called Die", 'Around' was smooth and an r'n'b and pop masterpiece and one of my favourite tracks from Lamentations; 'Ordinary' was turned from a beautiful ballad into a dance song, which could have been disastrous but she has so much talent it just made an already awesome song...more awesome.

My personal highlight was a track from her latest album, called 'ABCD', a song written for a friend about how he was unable to marry the girl he loved and the heart wrenching lyric was even more heart breaking live than recorded, it's so hard to describe how good that song was, but if you think of your favourite gig ever, it would sit somewhere near that. Ngaiire has a way of moving around the stage that makes it hard to see who is with her and while she had three musicians and some friends join her at times, it's obvious who was the star, her energy was infectious and her voice was exquisite, finishing with 'Dirty Hercules' she just made me want to see more and more, I could have listened to that velvety voice for hours on end.

I went to Melbourne to relax, hang out with friends and enjoy some beverages, but when the opportunity to see such talent came my way, I'm so very glad I took that opportunity and demanded it to take me to fun. Sometimes life hands you gifts like live music and fun and when it does, look it in the eye and say thanks, for you could discover your new favourite artists like I did with Ngaiire, Lester The Fierce and We Are The Brave.

If you're lucky, you can still see Ngaiire and Lester The Fierce as they make their way around the country...

Thursday, 3rd October - Multicultural Arts Centre, Brisbane (free gig!)
Friday, 4th October - Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast (tickets here!)
Saturday, 5th October - The Northern Hotel, Byron Bay (free gig!)
Saturday, 12th October - Jive, Adelaide, (tickets here!)

Head over to the facebook page for some delightful pics and instagram for the same reason!

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