Image description: A woman sits on her bedroom floor, reaching up to the window, and grasping the white gauze curtain that hangs from it. Even though she is in a bedroom, it appears that the items aren’t subject to normal laws of gravity, as if the room is underwater. The woman’s hair flows around her head, and the gauze curtain also floats unnaturally.
By Elaine Hanlon // @elainehanlonart
Sunday night at the Chevron Lighthouse saw a mellow, swaying crowd journey from the suburbs of Perth through the depths of the ocean and the soaring night skies.
The support act for Weyes Blood was Jack Davies, missing most Bush Chooks bandmates but accompanied on the violin by Elise Hiatt. Davies, a Fremantle-based songwriter and folksinger, intertwines observations from the peripheries of Australia with his personal experiences. It was an acoustic set of chilled, indie ballads and urban folk tales, backed by guitar, harmonica and the violin.
Despite his mumbled conversations and stumbles with the setup, his vocals and music were strong and heartfelt. His set captured the intimate beauty of falling in love on a backpacker’s budget, and sharing the magic and romance of vegemite sandwiches and baked beans. By the end, he carried the crowd away on a nostalgic journey unique to everyday life in Western Australia. Davies’ music is reminiscent of Paul Kelly’s – with the addition of plenty of wit.
Natalie Mering performs under the name Weyes Blood, and was accompanied by four band members who had travelled with her from the USA. She was dressed in a 60s-inspired wide-leg pantsuit with matching era boots, while her band were all dressed in black. The stage, smoke machines, and lighting gave off hallucinogenic vibes that suited the music perfectly.
She kicked off with lilting melodies and old-school song writing, immediately showing her strength as an indie enchantress of timeless ballads. She spins her music as a blissful web of vintage pop with a voice harking back to Joni Mitchell and a sprinkle of The Carpenters. Her set introduced us to complex harmonies and electronic splashes as she played old and new favourites to the delight of the swooning audience.
A crowd pleaser was Movies, her lustrous voice cutting through the psychedelic track as the sound swelled, with a message about her disillusionment with cinematic romance when “the hopes and dreams don’t give credit to the real things.”
Many of her songs deal with the melancholia of everyday life, like the loss of childhood innocence or intimacy in the modern age. There are also moments of direct honesty in her lyrics, where reality and fantasy collide, like Mirror Forever: “No-one’s ever going to give you a trophy/For all the pain and the things you’ve been through,” or A Lot’s Gonna Change: “Born in a century lost to memories/Falling trees, get off your knees.”
All-in-all, a poetic evening accompanied with big sounds that left the crowd swooning on dreams while staring down the darker themes of life.
Three and a half Bush Chooks out of five
Elaine is going to live life like its 1969.
Image courtesy of Perth Festival