Sons & Daughters @ East Brunswick Club – 13/01/12

It must have been ladies night at the East Brunswick Club on Friday. Local band Pearls started the night off, and immediately I thought they were cool because the drummer was female. These guys built some seriously impressive soundscapes; ambient story telling using repetition and slow crescendos. I’d chuck this on my iPod if I was feeling reflective and in need of a good soul-search, but live I was hanging out for some more visual stimulants and smoother change over between songs.
 
Teeth & Tongue’s front woman Jess Cornelius wore a classy ensemble of vintage drapery and kept her face hidden behind a Kimbra-inspired mop of hair. Mystique is everything. Already captivated, I was intrigued when her vocals were deep and strong, and not the airy feminine melodies I had expected. The Melbourne three piece had an outstanding sense of groove driven by a constantly changing rhythm section. Using a synth, pre-recorded drum tracks and a lone snare and floor tom, the band managed to draw light and shade into their set.  Even though the lyrics were sometimes indecipherable within the singer’s bellowing tone, I did manage to catch the cutesy chorus of the absolute summer-slammer “The Party Is You”. Being nice and blunt, Jess cried, “I have gone to the party and I don’t wanna leave early.” You go girlfriend… you tell ‘em!
 
In between songs, Teeth & Tongue gave us a bit of banter about being unfit and struggling to breathe mid song, before launching into another chilled out midnight party tune. Every head in the room was bobbing, probably fighting the urge to bust out more interpretive, less conservative movements. In the absence of a drummer, the three members of the band stood side by side front of stage, each a recluse in their own creative space, taking turns soloing in the spotlight. The bass player and lead guitarist often kneeled, directing our attention onto Jess and her lanky dance moves, so rehearsed but ridiculously entertaining.
 
Things got a tad heated in the second half of the set. Wailing a falsetto force field over a circus-like waltz in 3/4, Jess won the crowd over. The emotion of the song lay with the fragility of her wavering pitch and the nakedness of her tone over the thump of a ballsy bass guitar. I was desperate for some live and beastly kick drum action though, the kind that vibrates my collarbone, but sadly I was left wishing. The set finished with a piercing soprano war cry strung out over a trudging metal riff. It was foreboding, yes, but slowly uplifting too.
 
And, to top the night off, UK band Sons and Daughters took to the stage. In-your-face energy was abundant, the lead singer sporting a strong Glasgow accent and a shriek to rival Alanis Morissette. The guitarist was a gentleman with humility and kept the crowd entertained between songs. “This next song is off our new record… which two of you have… and one of you wants to hear.”  The band experimented with vocal effects and the dripping overhang of delay over band stops. Catchy hooks kept the crowd singing along, and thankful that they had come out to see such a committed band do their thing.
 
by Phoebe Spinks
 
(Photo of Sons & Daughters via Wikipedia)

January 15th 2012
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