LIVE REVIEW: ALL OUR EXES LIVE IN TEXAS (SYD) + PORTS (IRE)
Saturday 24 July saw two incredibly talented groups grace the stage at Babushka Leederville. The first band was an outfit from Derry, Northern Ireland. Ports had originally met The Exes back at South by South West in Texas (funnily enough) and have now joined the group on a national tour to support their debut album.
Ports consisted of an acoustic guitarist, a bassist and a drummer, singing in perfect harmony. Their sound was such that one could quite easily draw comparison with canoe-rockers Fleet Foxes. They sang songs about their homeland, growing up, and being far from family. Their music was soft, yet compelling and made you want to silence the barmen pouring beers for just one moment. The power of their music made many in the room pause completely, when they performed their final song a cappella. The group had plenty of stories between songs which satisfied a familiar crowd. A large group of Irish ex-pats were gleefully seated next to me, drinking and live streaming (with flash) the entire set. As it turns out, one of the band members has a brother who is now based in Perth. Expect them to return to these shores soon!
Having interviewed the Exes earlier in the week, I knew the ladies would be an absolute hoot. The group approached the stage dressed in only the finest vintage attire, ready to bloody harmonise about all things relationships. Harmonies about the good, the bad, and all of the lost relationships, a notable example being 'Candle'.
The group normally perform as a four-piece but for some songs, they invited a drummer and bass player to enhance their sound. The Exes also switched instruments between tracks, except for the piano accordion player, because that is tres difficult. During songs, the Exes would provide their own rendition of modern folk songs while exchanging winks, side-ways glances and cheeky smirks. In between, they would exceed my expectations of banter and slander alike, rendering them absolute heartbreakers in my book.
The most memorable moment of the evening was when the Exes and Ports gathered in a circle in the middle of the crowd at Babushka and finished with a completely acoustic version of Don't Cry. About half way through, an older lady squeezed her way through and started creating a rhythm with some spoons. Meanwhile the Irish ex-pats are live streaming with flash just to add a little bit of atmosphere. But in all honesty, both groups performed what was a very intimate and quaint gig, making everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside on such a cool winter's night.