BIRD WEDNESDAYS: Nicholas Dangen, Lewis O'Donnel, Bluenade, Dream Rimmy
Wednesday night @ THE BIRD
21st September 2016 - RECAP
The night opened with Nicholas Dangen, a Freo based singer-songwriter who until recently performed solo, now joined by Luke Mackays on keyboard/synth.
They're the quintessential bedroom project. I honestly got visions of them as teenagers in the basement of a house in the suburbs decked out to be a jam space. Maybe my slight hallucinations were prompted by the song referring to how much Dangen misses his Gameboy colour.
The tunes heavily follow grunge song structure, but there's versatility and creativity in the decision to soften it out with Luke's synth work. The songs really deserve a band – I don’t know if this is the plan, but it’s obvious that they’ve got some really good ideas and strong foundations to build on. The variation of ballads to angrier, distortion-heavy songs would blossom with the addition of colour and texture offered by more instruments to thicken out the sound Dangen is clearly going for, so maybe we'll see more of that in the future.
They're an endearing pair to watch, throwing smiles at each other whenever they lost time – which, I’ll add, they held very well considering they don’t have a percussion member. It'll be interesting to see how they'll grow and change over the next few months, a sure act to keep an eye out for.
LEWIS O’DONNEL and the feast of snakes
If you haven’t seen Lewis’s feast yet, then get snappy. The different roles in the band have changed hands a few times, but it seems like the dust has finally settled and it will be smooth sailing from here on out. In the absence of bassist Olivia O’Donnell, Pete Leverson-Gower (guitarist) took over making it a three-piece this time round. These guys are great. Just great. They're what a bar out on a lost highway in the middle of the USA would sound like. Raw and honest.
Lewis cries out so gut-wrenchingly - I never quite know what about, all I do know is that it's visceral, powerful stuff. There are mixed opinions regarding their influences, but for me they're an equal mix of Dylan, Jagger and Reed. There's poetry, stage moves, chemistry and charisma.
Felix Burrows (drums) of The Darling Rangers played stunningly. He and Pete held the trio together perfectly, supporting Lewis's emotional, languid guitar work. Perfect balance. Felix complimented the guitar work by adding light and shade throughout the set. Pete remained unassuming and humble, taking a seat on the stage as the set progressed.
It's been an erratic year for the band - but what didn't kill them has, I'm sure, made them stronger. If you haven't seen yet, then check them out as they hit the ground running.
Bluenade is the side project of local electronic artist Leon Osborn. Formed in February, I hadn't yet seen them until tonight. Worlds away from the electronic arena, Bluenade sound like they've found some sound middle ground between Real Estate, Sonic Youth and Pavement.
The group were not particularly interactive with the audience, rather they seemed a little bit nervous, focusing on the immediate job of playing, obviously. They're a great team. Dan Osborn (drums) really stood out to me. His playing is so clean and so reliable, providing space for both Leon and Joey's melodic guitar work to dominate, whilst Jackson locked in comfortably with the two of them.
All the songs were all really well paced and maintained the attention of the audience. They gradually loosened up and got a little more chatty as the final songs of the set approached - perhaps having to tell allegedly bad jokes while tuning up is a blessing in disguise? I'm excited to see how the overall sound of this band fills out over the next few months.
Headline act of the night Dream Rimmy are an epic shoegaze band, also from Freo. Formed by frontwoman and guitarist Ali Flintoff, the band emits a wall of sound that makes you feel warm and safe as they ride out their sustained, and dare I say, dreamy catalogue of tunes.
Having spent the last little while with local Producer Dave Parkin, I was excited to hear any tweeks he may have made to their already rather complete sound.
They made their presence known from the moment the set began. They're a captivating band to watch and communicate really effectively with one another. Ali has great stage presence, it's both ethereal and commanding. She rarely gives individual eye contact, rather casting her gaze out past the audience.
Collectively they all fit in together so well. Jack Gaby and Lee Napper (guitar) back up Ali, giving an aggressive and full sound fuelled by some pretty mammoth pedal work. Together they all ride the sturdy foundations maintained by Ben McDonald (bass) and George Foster (drums) who also harmonises with Ali's swirling vocals perfectly throughout the set. The essential distinguishing factor for these guys, I feel, is Vin's synth work, which adds some essential contrast making Rimmy a really unique local act.
They're set to release an EP in early may, 2017 - their single launch is coming up in a few weeks on October 15th at Mojos. They've got a heap of future dates locked in, including Holy Holy's WA tour and Flyying Colours in November and an east coast tour early next year. If this review has enticed your curiosity, then look out for Ali's new band BOAT SHOW who will be playing their first(ish) gig as support for Cate Le Bon at Mojos on October 9.