Last Saturday night, the grassy inner courtyard of Fremantle Arts Centre was speckled with couples and friends sitting on picnic blankets, pillows and jackets as they sipped on a cold one, devoured delicious smelling (but overpriced) wood-fired pizzas and waited for the night ahead.
I caught the end of Niko Mo’s melancholic beautiful set—the band’s violin created a sombre yet sweet sound. Six-piece Butter was up next and was an act I’d been wanting to see for a hot minute. They wowed the crowd with their mix of neo-soul, jazz and ‘90s hip-hop—it’s hard to fit them into a specific genre. Frontman Lachy has such a unique and distinct voice, one that is deeper than expected and rich in delivery. The band seemed so genuinely happy to be up on stage performing. It was like watching a group of friends rehearse in their garage as they shared laughs and jokes between each other. Their mix of jazzy trumpet and saxophone melodies, synths, slinky bass and interwoven pop culture samples proved to punters the group was truly as smooth as their name suggests.
The once spacious courtyard turned cozy as more people began to rock up for the star of the show. Carla Geneve is one of Perth’s favourite indie rockers and we were all in for one killer show. She kicked off the night with the gritty and guitar-heavy, Empty Stomach and followed it up with a new song, Things Change—a track that took the pace down a notch as Geneve reflected on relationships.
The small venue provided for an intimate and more personal feel to the show, which I’m sure everyone appreciated. It wasn’t long before Geneve asked the crowd to abandon their spots on their picnic blankets and come to the front for a boogie, to which most punters happily obliged.
Geneve looked ecstatic to be onstage performing some of her new songs—the smile on her face couldn’t help but be replicated by the crowd—and poked fun at the rumours of the arts centre being haunted by noting she “hopes the ghosts like the music”.
The band left the stage and the energy dropped down a level as she played a few solo songs, including an acoustic about our very own Fremantle. My personal favourite track, Juliet made the cut—a beautiful power ballad that demonstrates Geneve’s impressive vocal range—as well as her previous single, Listening.
The tour’s title track, 2001 was just as vulnerable and emotional live as the recorded version. Geneve shared with the crowd that she’s a very private person and this song was a personal track, so she’s glad we liked it. Everyone smiled and softly swayed along to the melancholic and reflective track.
The crowd favourite for the evening was her upbeat and poppier debut single, Greg’s Discount Chemist. Punters sang along as they danced and bounced around, laughing at the slight changes Geneve made to the track, after all, she was twenty not eighteen now and they were near High Street, not Fitzgerald, so it seemed fitting.
The band dashed off stage for a brief minute before returning for a two-song encore, including a cover of Neil Young’s Down By The River. Personally, I feel they may as well have stayed on stage, but I guess it’s the fun of it all.
A happy note for all Carla Geneve fans, the Perth rocker revealed she has been recording an EP which we will get to hear sometime soon.