Spacey Jane photo credit Sheldon Ang
WAM Music Week – featuring Spacey Jane and The Southern River Band
HBF Stadium, Claremont (WA), 20th March 2021.
The iconic frontman of the band from a not so iconic southern suburb of Perth storms the stage with his troops after landing from the 80’s in a time machine. With an archaic mullet(ish) hairdo and golden Lycra or Spandex that’s tighter than a danseur’s leotard in Swan Lake, he darts across the floor like Jagger taking centre stage, gyrating his hips to the deafening screams of the female fans including one possessed soul who flicked an item of apparel onto the stage like a scene from a Tom Jones teaser.
With military precision, the engine room of the rhythm section sparks the ignition of the bluesy rock band, causing a seismic reverberation across the floor. Armed with the guitar, the larrikin spins in a three sixty before raising his instrument like a proud owner of a golden chalice…perhaps a statement of unity, one that embraces the arts, a quintessential sector of a multi cultured society. After all, Callum Kramer – the lead vocalist of The Southern River Band, or affectionally known as Kramer thanks the quirky Seinfeld character, moonlights as a part time political poncho with his constant calls for policy changes. And tonight is no exception.
The demographics under the roof of HBF Stadium in Mount Claremont initially hinted that the revellers were mainly fans of the headliner act. But that may not be the case as teenagers self-enlisted themselves as backup singers for the band, while some were screaming at Kramer’s delectable moves that were in cadence with the sonic charge and ferocious attack on the drums by Todd Pickett, the solid baseline of bassist Pat Smith and the end to end soaring riffs by guitarist Dan Carroll on tracks such as Chimney, Cigarettes (Ain’t Helping Me None) and the latest single Busted Up. It’s no wonder this world class band have supported the likes of Cold Chisel, before touring with US metal legends The Darkness before the you know what pandemic switched off their lights.
The good ol’ Thornlie bred band was part of tonight’s line-up on the main stage for the Western Australia Music (WAM) week celebration, which culminated at the WAMAwards 2020, and concluding in Northbridge on the weekend ending March 28th.
Serving as champion of Western Australian music scene, WAM has been instrumental in nourishing local talent and providing support for up and coming West Aussie musos.
And tonight, they were showcasing the headliner Spacey Jane – winning WAM’s Best Single and also engraving into the Number 2 spot On Triple J’s Hottest 100 with Booster Seat, while dotting their mark along several commendable positions en-route to the top such as Skin, Straightfaced and Weightless from their latest album, Sunlight – which shared the Best Album of 2020 with Tame Impala for The Slow Rush.
Following the success in 2020, Spacey Jane may be considered as THE headliner of the WAMFest week, after winning the Most Popular Act as voted by the public. But performing after SRB – also the latest WAM winner in the Best Rock Act category, is never an easy feat for any band, but the howling energy possessed by the quartet sealed the deal as one of Australia’s hottest acts to grace the dawn of the decade.
If every band has their Angus Young, it would probably be guitarist Ashton Le Cornu for this garage band from Perth, whose hair flicking and the occasional gravity defying karate kicks left the crowd in awe by his energetic tempo. And just like Angus, Le Cornu is one hell of a guitarist, extolling some of the sexiest scintillating sounds harmonising from 6 strings.
And if every band has a Gene Simmons, newcomer Peppa Lane would be it, as the bassist enthralled the crowd with her hair weaving and animated stance, running in circles across the stage, while flirting for this writer’s camera before collapsing on the stage from sheer adrenalin – who says bass guitarists are boring?
The tracks that made it onto the Triple J were on the setlist tonight along with other fan favourites such as Feeding the Family before closing the night with Good for You.
Kieran Lama the drummer was positioned well rear of the stage, unelevated. The fans would have loved this bespectacled young talent and his set to be raised like for the super drummers such as the Frank Ferrers and the Eric Singers, showcasing his emphatic drumming drive. Lead vocalist Caleb Harper was understandably the least animated, focusing on the mic for the pitch-perfect moments, leaving the onstage shenanigans to his guitarist and bassist.
The main stage was shared with two other bands; The Struggling Kings and Dulcie. The former has been a festival favourite having performed at Nannup, Fairbridge and SOTA festival. So it’s of little wonder that this quartet took the big stage. Drawing inspiration from their indigenous roots, brothers Luke, Daniel and Mark Riches with James Winwood captivated the audience with their indie-rock sonics including their latest single Baanigarr, drawing their influences from Kings of Leon and the Pilgrim brothers.
Dulcie is an all-female indie band and has been a firm favourite across Perth venues. It’s a challenge to identify the lead vocalist, as evident by the interchanging of vocalist lead across three singers. The soaring hooks and mellifluous melodies such as in their latest single Dust were seductively engaging, drawing some of the biggest backup vocals from the audience. Other fan favourites were Fall and Strangest Places. It’s hard to imagine that this band performed their first gig over two years ago in July 2018, notwithstanding that Timieka Denton (bass and vocals) and Saskia Brittain (guitar and vocals) grew up in Denmark (the town, not the country). Together with Ashleigh Carr-White (keys and vocals) and Madison Hanley (drums) it’d be a matter of time this band will be headlining major festivals across the country.
The acts that were part of tonight’s “outside stage” performances include Steve Hensby, The Little Lord Street Band, Queency and Siobhan Cotchin – who was nominated for 3 WAM Awards for 2020, and finally winning Best Country Act.
In times when international acts are a memory (until the end of 2021), it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the local bands have ironically drawn more empirical attention than the pre you know what virus days. And tonight was a showcase of some of the locally-made produce, a fine product of raw talent bloomed from the humble suburban roots from Thornlie to Denmark. Nevertheless, WA has been a fertile ground for musicians, notably Tame Impala who has been nominated for the Grammy’s. While success is measured in dollar numbers under the business charter of records labels and industry heavyweights, if rhythm is the dancer, Western Australia would’ve been the centrepiece of Australian music.
So let’s keep the momentum beyond 2021.