May 24th, 2010 by Chris


WHAT: City of Perth Northbridge WAMI Saturday Spectacular

WHERE: All over Northbridge

WHEN: May 22

It’s not often Western Australian music is the most important thing in Perth. This past Saturday, Northbridge became the centre of the scene as fifty acts did their thing across nine venues for the City of Perth Northbridge Saturday Spectacular. My story covers fourteen bands, seven venues, soggy jeans and one hell of a showcase for this big little city.

The Big Old Bears kicked off the The Mustang Bar stage at 1pm. Their brand of bluegrass is quite wonderful. They had lost their drummer earlier in the day so it was quite the joy to see them play.

Singer/ Songwriter Storme played to the cold courtyard down James Street at The Brass Monkey. There is nothing amazing about this lady and her rootsy, soul music disappears into the background.

With the weather setting in, the Perth Cultural Centre stage made the hasty retreat into The Pica Bar. The poptastic sounds of The 6’s and 7’s echoed throughout the tiny room. The four-piece crammed themselves into the corner as Josh Fontaine belted out his perfect indie-pop tunes.

Perth’s newest joint The Bird started things a little late with The Old Croak still setting up the kit as they began their set. They belted out a few good tracks, with fantastic rock laden melodies driving their show forward.

Soultress Milly James took over The Universal Bar with soulful, joyous and surprisingly indie sounding tracks. She’s a wonderful singer with a capable band behind her; quite the sound for the wine drinkers sitting inside.

Having launched their debut record last week, Bat Country had a bit of a crowd at The Impact Bar. Loud, bare and to be critical, dated rock that smacks of musical talent but fails to create anything new or original. What they do, they do well but what they do has already been done.

One highlight of the afternoon for me were the quite wonderful, hilarious and down right fun Fancy Brothers. A joint venture of Jeff Strong and Justin Walshe this is a rockabilly, bluegrass and country band that bellow out magnificent music that leaves little to imagination but God damn it makes you smile.

As the afternoon rolled on, Lacey began their set back at The Impact Bar. There is little in this band that will change the musical landscape. They are competent and well rehearsed but their music lacks any real punch, it just starts and then finishes.

Back down William Street, Fear Of Comedy scarred The Bird. Musically this is a band struggling to find a place to go, performance wise this is a band that knows exactly where it is.

My first foray into The Elephant and Wheelbarrow found me watching The Words. Having seen these guys a few times and hearing recordings from their very beginning, their improvement is quite remarkable. Engaging, loud and well crafted songs if perhaps a little derivative.

Another short walk in the rain brought me back to The Impact bar, passing Gold WAMi Winner Peter Barr along the way. The Trigger Jackets slotted into the back of the bar and produced well constructed and catchy tunes.

The Reserves stood before the English flags inside The Elephant and Wheelbarrow. Nothing great in this band, nothing terrible though. Its rock at its very basic and for many it’s very good.

The long walk through the Cultural Centre lead me to packed courtyard of The Court where everyone’s favourite  fun band Boys Boys Boys were up on stage, engaging, funny, fun and down right talented. With one lucky break not much could stop this band from world domination.

Strolling back to my car I past Takeaway Tunes, a Pop-up record store from Love is My Velocity. The Tigers played to an engrossed crowd, inside and out. Still one of Perth finest.

And so its was done..except for the Closing Party..

©Chris Wheeldon 23rd May 2010

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