Monday, December 7, 2009


Monday, May 05, 2008 
Northcote Social Club

Though the crowd are physically restrained in their appreciation of the music tonight, for the most part, it's clear there is a lot of love in the room for tonight's performers. A smattering of pink fluffy tiaras and wands throughout the crowd . Ned Collette and his able rhythm section earn their stripes turning Collette's wordy meanderings into barely discernible rock tunes. No doubt the lyrics are fantastic, the few that do make it through the muddy mix are tantalising: "The day rolled in like innocence / If innocence was grey" and the rhythms and guitar squalls are rock solid, all making for a brilliant counterpoint to his recent subdued set at Laterra Festival. Tonight Collette's trademark moodiness is rendered with a refreshing depth - the music regularly swamping his impassioned soliloquies taking the crowd along with him. Mediocre Days and The Hedonist are accentuated in their sludgy grandeur by Collette's expert used of pedals and become highlights of the set.

Half an hour later curtains part to reveal five guys, the median age of whom is likely a decade above that of the Princess, continuing the Velvets-chug of Collette's set with crisp aplomb. Cam Butler (of Silver Ray) introduces us to the Princess herself who, all smiles, takes her place behind her keyboard and leads us into the land of the smart, simple, and tender song. Few performers in this country are capable of pulling such an arresting about-turn with a few slivers of chords and some breathy vocals in the way that Sarah-Jane Wentski can. Give her a Ronnettes drum intro and she'll take it to places few would dare. After silencing the room with Man In A Suitcase she takes us on a day trip to the beach with the sugary jags of I'm Onto Something Good which is only a playlist-feature away from taking her to major league status. Given the strength of these songs - the burning garage rockers (You) gently swelling surges (There's Got To Be More Than This) and the warmly-received so-new-it's-unnamed track - it's a curious state that P1.5 isn't more famous, a situation the new album Vous Je Vous, launched tonight, will make harder to maintain. One reason her live show may not be making the impression it should is the constant distraction from the mood by her drummer's monkey antics. Perpetually annoying nervous attempts at comedy really don't help the mood or the songs, still, the man can drum. It would be nice to say it's a Björk/Einar Örn relationship, but that would be much too kind. New, and hopefully not temporary, guitarist Ben Grounds is a brilliantly judged addition to the band with his curlicues and sparse arpeggios bringing a gloriously atmospheric edge to the songs. With the sound crystal clear and the audience loving each moment the band should consider it another step on the long and - it seems - inevitable road to success.

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