Living in Brunswick is great in many ways; being surrounded by like minded people, endless supply of single origin organic soy lattes as well as great eateries and drinkeries. But all too often this self-professed gig addict finds herself weighing up the benefits of the into-the-city-and-out-again method vs the cross northside bus trip in the search of the easiest way to Northcote/Fitzroy/Abbotsford. So you can imagine my endless first-world joy when Shadow Electric decides to make all my Christmases come at once by revitalising the Estonian House on Melville Road for the Visions series.
My friend and I are blown over by the beauty of the venue, it has a mix of old classic architecture with retro daggy fittings. Particularly the cloakroom reminded me of the box where I bought tickets to my Year 7 social at the Lismore High School hall (represent!). Nostalgia aside, it is a truly great space with a wide stage and lofty ceilings and a mezzanine.
We arrive in time for Pearls, the Melbourne (may I note, well gender balanced) four piece. Their set is simply fantastic and shows off their more rock side that can be forgotten when listening to their dream-synth pop numbers such as “Albion”. I particularly loved the female vocals on “Big Shot” which is one of the punchier songs, along with “Pretend You’re Mine” which makes me think of some other British bands who draw on 1980s sounds to make their pop rock such as Kasabian and Franz Ferdinand.
After surviving the fucked bar line in between sets, my friend and I get excited for Teeth & Tongue, who do not disappoint even from the moment they take the stage in matching pink satin jackets, fuck yeah. Jess Cornelius is an absolute vision in a long silver two piece and starts with a sad beautiful song which makes me think of a lone soul singer in a bar like True Detective series 2 (if you haven’t watched it, stop what you are doing and see it now, sleep/work/spouse/friends can wait.) Her voice is so melancholically seductive and her guitar playing so on point, that even the general chatter in the room dies down.
“Party Is You” is a highlight with a beautiful Kate Bush feel while some punter up the front does her best imitation of the tune’s video clip character. I absolutely adore this set which has great emotional depth and mixture of upbeat optimism and an ominous gloominess, something like a female Jack Ladder. “Good Men” is indicative of this exploration into the beautifully sad with the feel of a 1980s prom disappointments…maybe that’s a projection of the outfits and the guitar and synth sounds.
Songs like “Easy Living” with it’s upbeat sound hides some of the more deeply poignant lyrics as does newer track “Cupcake.” This song is a particular hit, and no surprise because it is a fantastic track with driving guitars and a catchy chorus.
The end of the set is a particular treat with a selection of covers, which were so good that it made me forget my hopes for their cover of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.”
Firstly, a rendition of The Motels of “Total Control” gives a beautiful revival of this great new wave track; “I would sell my soul for total control”…deep stuff. During an amazing encore in which they manage to get the front of the audience jiving, they throw in a snippet of “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys. I basically lose my mind with surprised joy and I think my mate thinks I just sucked laughing gas I’m smiling so hard…Thank you Teeth & Tongue, thank you.
Hometown: Wellington, New Zealand.
Latest release: Grids, March 2014.
Sounds like: Kate Bush, Jack Ladder, Bat for Lashes
Say what? In early 2015, Jess Cornelius was invited to fly to Skagastrond in Iceland for a Nes Artist Residency…I’m assuming thats the locations featured in her “Cupcake” video.
Stay classy, Rosa.