Kira Puru & the Bruise, Post Paint, Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens

Column: Gig Reviews   |   Date Published: Tuesday, 10 September 13   |   Author: Amy Dowler   |   3 years, 9 months ago

@ The Polish White Eagle Club, Friday August 23


Built around the serious vocal talent of Ms Puru, Kira Puru & the Bruise don’t rely on that talent alone, having crafted some fine songs and a coherent and compelling aesthetic sensibility. Defining exactly what that sensibility is, however, isn’t easy. They describe themselves as ‘doom pop’, which doesn’t quite get it – for a start, they aren’t all that poppy. Perhaps the best parallel to draw would be with Massive Attack: stunning female vocals over ominous and stylish instrumentation, although without the electronic element.

The two covers in the set worked extremely well: first, a straight-faced and moody version of Kylie’s classic Confide in Me and later, Portishead’s Wandering Stars – interspersed with fragments of Eminem’s Lose Yourself. Despite the serious and dark mood of the music, Puru & the Bruise somehow managed to get the entire room on their feet – a reflection of The Polish Club crowd’s enthusiasm, both for the music they were hearing and perhaps for live music in general (and honey vodka shots).

Kira Puru & the Bruise were supported by fellow Novocastrians Post Paint and locals Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens. Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens did their pleasant gentle folk thing well, although the cover of The Drones’ Shark Fin Blues didn’t quite work. In contrast to Julia et al, whose music is sparse to the point of fragility, Post Paint presented a wall of sound, with layers upon layers of guitar, violin, and sometimes saxophone. They were very, very earnest, but made some interesting sounds and clearly enjoyed collaborating with Kira Puru, with whom they have a joint single this tour – the very catchy Crest of the Wave.



Twelve Foot Ninja, Meniscus, Escape Syndrome:

@ Zierholz @ UC, Thursday September 12

A healthy number of punters showed up early to greet Escape Syndrome. The locals shook the room with a super loud version of Shadows II, with Matt Faulkner sounding strong on vocals. He threw some hip hop into Fire Field and even managed to get a plug for their merch in mid-song. Keeping it heavy with Trace and The Set Disease, they kept the crowd happy.

Instrumental post-rockers Meniscus dressed up their set with constantly changing video projections, including ripple patterns and starscapes. They cleverly crafted a mix of delicate sounds and heavy guitars, with intricate patterns undulating, echoing, and swelling. Guitarist Daniel Oreskovic threw himself into it with a frenzy. However, Meniscus were so focused on their instruments that they did not engage well with some of the audience. While there was too much chatter, the band got a good reaction to closer, Cursed.

Comic book characters come to life, Twelve Foot Ninja gave a master class in showmanship. Known for their funny, well-presented videos, the band showed that they are no slouches when it comes to delivering a very tight set. Frontman Kin Etik related well to the crowd and showed that he’s equally adept at high, floating vocals and screaming his lungs out. He kept it humorous, with details of the night’s winning Keno numbers entering mid-song, and the girls in the crowd thought he didn’t look too shabby either. Twelve Foot Ninja have created a niche for themselves with alternative metal that fuses heavy rock with jazz and reggae rhythms. They showed that they can get wearers of Anthrax and Fear Factory t-shirts swaying unashamedly in a most un-metal manner. The crowd coaxed them back to play War as the encore.

[Image credit: Erica Hurrell]

The Hello Morning, Lavers:

@ The Phoenix Bar, Thursday August 29


To start this on a personal note, I want to give a quick shout out to the carload of pricks that hurled the egg at me while I was en route (as they say) to The Phoenix. I contemplated returning fire, but the egg didn’t break until it hit the ground and no harm was caused (not sure how you mess that up). So, well done.

At The Phoenix, seasoned rockers Lavers were supporting and doing a fine job of warming the place up. Playing an acoustic set, they breezed through a collection of old favourites, before ending with a toe-tapping, hand-clapping medley led by lead singer Dominic Lavers.

Close to 11pm, the six besuited members of Melbourne’s The Hello Morning took to the tiny Phoenix stage (as lead singer Steven Clifford would later remark, 'We’re doing alright fitting up here for six uncoordinated guys.').

The Hello Morning proceeded to shake The Phoenix with their distinct sound – a mix of My Morning Jacket and Neil Young, with a sprinkle of Springsteen, and, somewhere buried in the back, an air of Johnny Cash.

For 45 minutes they blasted through songs from their self-titled full-length (including Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You, Drive You Home, Edge of Town, and Without You), as well as the entirety of their new EP Tie That Binds (sans the last track on the EP – a cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash’s Jackson).

All said and done, it was a warm night at The Phoenix, and I’m sure of two things. One – if you get the chance to see The Hello Morning, then go. They aren’t to be missed. Two – if you can get your hands on the new EP, then do that too. I doubt you’ll regret it.



The Manhattan Transfer, Leisa Keen:

@ Canberra Theatre, Wednesday August 28


The Manhattan Transfer first formed in 1969, with only Tim Hauser staying the whole distance. However, their current membership of Hauser, tenor Alan Paul, alto Janis Siegel, and soprano Cheryl Bentyne has been together since 1978. With hits going back this far, it was no surprise that many in the audience were in their late 50s.

Canberra School of Music graduate, singer, and music teacher Leisa Keen provided the support, showing she’s handy with the electric piano and possesses a powerful voice with good blues and jazz tones. She confined her repertoire to covers of classics like Georgia on My Mind and The Birth of the Blues.

After the interval, The Manhattan Transfer strutted out to the famous ‘Boop bop, boop bop’ opening of Tuxedo Junction. There was a surprise in that Hauser was not in the line-up due to back surgery, but his replacement was the very capable Trist Curless, who showed that he can beat box – 1970s style!

Now saying TMT can sing is like saying Mark Webber can change gears – it doesn’t start to do them justice. Apart from swing, jazz, pop, and bebop, they specialise in incredibly fancy vocal deliveries. After dabbling in a little a cappella, they took things up a level to vocalese, a kind of jazz singing where lyrics are sung to the tune from an instrumental piece. TMT rolled out their hits including Java Jive, A-Tisket A-Tasket, and Chanson D'Amour. Highlights included Jeannine, the vocalese masterpiece Birdland, and the piano playing of their musical director Yaron Gershovsky. They only did one encore, but it was very special as they joined up with locals The Idea of North to sing A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.





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