So I finally made it to Shadow Electric at the Abbotsford Convent and I’m in love. What a quirky, beautiful venue. Set inside a convent no less. It’s a far cry from the beloved but let’s just say “well-worn” stomping grounds of the likes of The Corner, Hi-Fi and Northcote Social Club.
Darts chose this venue to play out their album Below Empty & Westward Bound. It was a friendly, family-affair vibe, and the whole band looked like they were having a ball playing to a home crowd.
What immediately stood out was their unusual arrangement, with bass player/back up vocals Jessie Fernandez taking front and centre, lead singer/guitarist Angus Ayres on the right-hand side and guitarist/secondary singer Ally Campbell-Smith on the left-hand side. The switching between the two vocalists meant each song was transformed into a completely different beast. It’s so refreshing for an album to have such a rich collection of sounds. Ayres’ alternating screeching and booming vocals took tracks to a darker place while Campbell-Smith’s vocals floated above the heavy music. Lyrically, both options went right over my head, but I can’t say this really mattered.
On top of the vocals, they also nailed the percussive elements with the introduction of tambourines, electric drums and even an egg shaker, in addition to the ever-present drum kit. A two-man brass section also made a swift appearance for their breakthrough track “Westward Bound”. This is when I had that rare moment of clarity – this here is why live music is so amazing. Seeing the whole musical process come alive is that magical. Hearing a track through your radio is simply not the same.
Exclusively hand-picked just for you, by Jane.