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PURE GOLD ON A SHIP OF HIDDEN TREASURES IN FREMANTLE

The Tram

Photo credits Sheldon Ang

“I’ve received a lot of messages on my socials from people who got tickets to listen to Pure, live,” she says, sparking the echoes of anticipation within the walls of the iconic Buffalo Club – hosting to an eclectic mix of cultured aficionados and the curious, from millennials to baby boomers.   

She plucks the strings of her acoustic guitar, adding to another layer of hype that is every bit Fremantle. I don’t know if I can save you, When all you do is pull away signals for the crowd’s attention, as singer-songwriter Paige Valentine harmonises with an enigmatic poise, still managing to ooze love from a case of heartbreak on a brooding slide.   As the poignant chorus takes flight, a portion of the crowd appointed themselves as her silent backup vocals, miming to Can we break it, Back to When we were pure.

Paige

Valentine’s velvety vocals ooze a unique blend of honesty and palpable sincerity in the studio, and unsurprisingly she carried the transparency onto the stage, showcasing her artistry while paradoxically drowning the sorrow of the lyrics with her vibrant smile and gleeful embrace, which seems to be her trademark duality.  And it is no wonder that at the time of writing, Pure has reached over 350,000 streams on Spotify since its release in June. 

The 30-minute set ended with her upcoming single Fool – set to be released in October. And based on the audience’s reaction of the enchanting live performance, Fool is likely to leverage and transcend the success of Pure. Once again, the vulnerability in Valentine’s voice, yet empathetically commanding, is comforting and encapsulates her emotional independence over a sombre reflection.

After her performance, Valentine winded down with this Around the Sound writer/photographer and spoke about the entwinement of the two singles. “Pure and Fool lend so well to each other. When I was working on it, I knew I had to put Pure out first, which set up the pretence for Fool…the single was mastered by the legendary Senior Mastering Engineer, Greg Calbi.”

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Jane Champion

The other much anticipated act was by a band simmering on the opposite sonic spectrum of Valentine. Yomi Ship – an instrumental trio, enthralled the audience with their experimental art rock, psychedelic rock, post-rock and progressive rock – definitely a music geologist’s dream! Barely out of their teens, bass guitarist and Speech Pathologist university student Jade Champion and brothers Nick and Jarred Osborne silenced the crowd as they took them onto a musical voyage under the darkened shades of blue hues at the Buffalo Club.

Their night began with their latest single Pantathians. Being one of the last performances of a Thursday night, most would expect the floor to be filled with a cast of red-eyed, half-baked and drained-out lost souls. But the trio’s performance was a refresher and an eye opener – literally, if not artistically disturbing; there was something ethereal about their performance, perhaps attributed to the masked drummer careening the feel-good thoughts induced from the previous acts with some of the trippiest drumming action. And that’s meant to be a compliment given the thematic revelations of the band. It was a perfectly executed act, stunning the audience with every crescendo without any hint of predictability.

Before their set, Jade Champion spoke to Around the Sound about the latest single and the band. “Pantathians are a race of serpent priests that are devoted to dark powers. It’s from a series of Raymond Feist’ novels. And Yomi in Japanese means ‘underworld’ – so our name means a vessel for carrying people to the underground…oh it is also a yugoh card (chuckles).”

The Stalin Breaks

While this media personnel had a glass of spiced rum dry and lime with Paige Valentine during the post-gig conversation, The Stalin Breaks (Pic above) made their live debut on the Buffalo Club stage. It seems that they have found a new fan in Valentine, as she exclaimed, “They’re great!” Indeed, their dreamy, distorted and dystopian scores as noted on their page reflect the current times.

As there were fourteen acts spread over five venues, including three shows by Ricky Green on The Tram (as in the moving vehicle) – it’d be impossible for this lone ranger to attend every performance.

Around the Sound also managed a few glimpses of other acts such as Stacey Ann, who sparked the night at National Hotel.  The indie-folk-pop artist fronted the 4-piece band and there was something about Florence and the Machine and Stevie Nicks about her performance, exuding a bohemian enchantment. 

The biggest act of the night in the Facebook likes category goes to Marley Wynn at the National Hotel, who had served as the frontman of several alternative bands such as The Morning Night, The Triffids and Steve Kilby of the Church. He is certainly one to watch as a solo artist.

One of the most captivating performance was performed by Stella Cain at the Navy Club. Backed by a choir, she carried out a gorgeous rendition of Island in the Stream, on the back of a semi a capella, which brewed into the stillness of the night.

The night capped off with the entertaining Bambusease Rhythm Section at the PS Art Space.  There is something Cal Kramer about the lead singer, thanks to his flamboyance stance, while flirting with the crowd through his larrikinism. Without doubt, the six-piece was the funkiest of the night, as they shook their rhythm and removed the blues from the revellers. Initially, this writer felt he crashed into the wonderment of New Orleans after a few sips of Bacardi on the rocks, but then again – this is Fremantle.

Week three into Hidden Treasures – The City of Fremantle and their organisers have orchestrated a splendid affair.  Event organisers Sarah Langley and Bruna Chiovitti explain to Around the Sound that the nights are about showcasing the talents of Fremantle based artists.  

But tonight may not only be about extolling the sonic pride of the port city; it’s also about the celebration of a vibrant multi-dimensional community, sighing a sense of relief and contentment, entwining the eclectic sounds of her beautiful cultures, and discovering commonality among strangers. And for that, the City and her organisers should take a bow.

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