SLY WITHERS AND FRIENDS
THE AARDVARK, 6 JULY
Photos with thanks to The Aardvark
Probably one of the friendliest, feel-goodest, most inclusive, come-one come-all live music venues in Perth (which includes Fremantle, get over it), The Aardvark turned one over the weekend of 5-7 July. And what better way to celebrate than invite all your musical mates over for a party? Which is exactly what the good folk at The Aardvark did. Around The Sound joined in the festivities on Saturday 6 July when the line up consisted of Sly Withers, Axe Girl, Cellophane, Tether, Last Lions and DJ Lee Reader.
“The Aardvark is….like a home away from home where the greeting at the door makes you feel like an old friend and the whole vibe is just chilled out fun, even when what’s happening on the stage is high energy, maximum poprock.”
The Aardvark is as close to a ‘local’ as you’ll get these days. It’s like a home away from home where the greeting at the door makes you feel like an old friend and the whole vibe is just chilled out fun, even when what’s happening on the stage is high energy, maximum poprock. There’s plenty of spaces to relax and plenty of depth in front of the stage to keep the party going all night long. The venue’s downstairs, underground vibe only adds to the Aardvark’s sense of being a bit of a secret place where anything can and will happen. It has just the right air of mystery for a live music venue, but it’s also a place where everyone is welcome.
And the talent that has taken the stage in the Aardvark’s first year of operation has been rich and varied. They rarely, if ever, take a misstep when booking bands and artists, so you’re always guaranteed something out of the ordinary no matter whether you just drop in or you’re coming to see your favourite band doing their thing.
Tonight was no exception.
Arriving too late to see Last Lions, Around The Sound was informed by a trusted colleague that they were, “fucking good.” Take it from us, coming from this particular person, that’s high praise indeed, so we will have to make sure to catch them sometime soon.
Tether took the stage next, playing their very own brand of angsty pop with hooks like a disco-infused Cure and hints of late 20th Century post-punk outfits like Joy Division coming through their set. There’s a lot to like about Tether and we have them on our watchlist of local bands on their way to bigger things.
Next up, Cellophane took the, by now packed, venue through 30 minutes of their take on alternative rock, which consisted mostly of mid-paced noughties-infused sounds with a leaning towards various generations of punk stylings. Cellophane have been around for a while now and it shows in their delivery, which is slick without being overly smooth, never straying into legacy college rock territory.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether Cellophane have it in them to attempt the push to the next level or whether they’re satisfied with keeping on coming back to the boss level they’re already on. It’s ever intriguing this rock and roll business.
“[Axe Girl] is a band that is less and less tethered to our planet these days. Gravity cannot hold them down.”
Which brings us to Axe Girl. Having gone away and retooled their set, switching up the instrumentation to make the most of the multi-instrumental capabilities of their ‘new’ five-piece line up and give vocalist, Addison Axe, the opportunity to prowl the stage without the weight of a guitar on her shoulders, they hit it hard tonight and played what could easily have been their best set to date. Like, ever!
Axe’s glitterhead costume was a statement of intent for Axe Girl tonight. This is a band that is less and less tethered to our planet these days. Gravity cannot hold them down. They have the songs and performance intensity to smash through the stratosphere and into outer space. Axe Girl are the best at what they do, bar none, and tonight’s show was a fierce and joyous celebration of who and what they are.
“That’s the essence of Sly Withers, everyone’s invited along for the ride.”
The night finished with Sly Withers. Fresh off a month-long interstate tour, they were tight as fuck tonight. Playing their own brand of strine punk, Sly Withers deliver intelligent, angsty songs via their twin front men, Jono Mata and Sam Blitvich. The choruses are plentiful and invite a sing along at almost every turn. Sly Withers are just the sort of band you’d want playing a residency at your local; they feel right at home on stage and make the punters feel right at home in the audience. It’s a rare thing, but they get that flow between band and audience just right.
That’s the essence of Sly Withers, everyone’s invited along for the ride, including, tonight, Carla Geneve, who stepped up for the final song in their set, new single, ‘Lately’. It was a helluva a way to finish an awesome night of celebration.
But then, as the last cheers died down, DJ Lee Reader pumped up the feels again, spinning Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy Birthday’. What a way to go out.
Happy birthday, The Aardvark, long may you keep doing what you do.