Live: Elizabeth Rose @ The Workers Club – 23/11/13

With talk lately of noise complaints prompting the closure of band rooms across town, it was nice to head to one that seems free of the restraint of residential angst. The Workers Club on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy remains one of the more charming venues, and what it lacks in size, it makes up for in the sheer volume of quality up-and-coming Australian and international acts. Saturday night featured two of triple j’s newest sweethearts—the electronic soul sounds of Safia and the effervescent Elizabeth Rose.Elizabeth Rose literally rose to prominence through her collaboration with Flight Facilities on the track “I Didn’t Believe”, before touring with the popular DJ duo across Australia. Safia on the other hand, have just recently blown up due to the huge success of “Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues”, which oozes Maxwell vibes and the modern touch of SBTRKT. To have the two combined with D.D Dumbo was a delightful idea from the good folk on Gertrude.Safia’s set was littered with heavy synth beats and plenty of bass that had much of the talkative crowd gyrating their hips back and forth. Their music is infectious, and while the first half of their set was dominated by beat-heavy tracks in the vein of “Mercury”, it was the latter half where Ben Woolner’s rich voice crooned to the senses of the sold out crowd. Woolner’s voice doesn’t really fit his appearance, but it was truly a joy to be taken aback by the glasses-clad individual. His charm lies in his excellent voice despite onlookers underestimating his talents when they first lay eyes on him. “Home Is Where The Heart Is” and “Listen To Blues, Listen To Soul” rounded out the strong set and left me yearning for more.The main attraction of the night was Elizabeth Rose with her minimalist setup on stage. This approach certainly placed emphasis on her pipes, and she lived up to the consequent expectations. While Rose is still in the infantile stage of her career, she undoubtedly knows where her strengths lie. In between a host of electronic pop tunes, including “Ready” and “Again”, she revealed to the excitable crowd that her new EP set for release in January will feature songs influenced by 90s R’n’B. Judging on the bouncy nature of her music, she has earmarked this area as her niche. As she continues to develop as a songwriter, hopefully she’ll continue to challenge us with her lyrical content, while still embracing our wanton desire to keep grooving.Although diminutive in stature, her contagious dance moves and clear fervidity for the occasion made her seem otherwise. During her cover of “The Rhythm Of The Night” by 90s dance outfit Corona, her deft vocal performance made up for her lack of grandeur that made the original such a smash hit. It was a very groovy and classy interpretation of the song.I had a chance to speak to Rose after the show; she told of her experience on tour and the ups and downs that came with it. Fights in Adelaide, sweating profusely in Perth and the hometown shows have only heightened her lust for the live performance. Both Safia and Elizabeth Rose have an intriguing look about them, but it is their music that will continue to pull audiences. As people speak of the death of live music in Melbourne, I can only reiterate that this is a great exaggeration. by William Balme 

November 26th 2013
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