A Live Experience with Tigertown and Phebe Starr @ Northcote Social Club, 2nd April 2016

jameslondon1_blue_blurIt’s been a very good year for Tigertown, with a bit of who-ha raised after their shows at SXSW in 2015 and now with the release and tour of their very accessible and joyful Lonely Cities EP, this is a family affair of sorts. The band are built upon the foundations of just that, the husband and wife combination, Chris (guitar) and Charlie Collins (lead vox + synth) along with the former’s brother Alexi (keys) and sister Elodie (bass).  Tonight, they are in celebration mode, supported by the mesmerising Phebe Starr and James Crooks (who we missed while waiting for dinner to be served.)

After some quick scoping out with our new photographer on the best angles to shoot from, we had a back-stage moment with sweet Phebe Starre before she took to the stage, talking shots she preferred, completely unaware of her talent and ability to draw a crowd in, literally.  With moments of early Ellie Goulding and the conviction of Zola Jesus and Florence Welch, Starr played through a buzzing set of electro pop with heart and soul.  Solely on vocals, her musical support consisted of drum machine, guitars and synths, a popular choice for young artists today, drawing from an 80’s back catalogue that they probably weren’t alive for, and then placing their millennial touch.

Starr is a great performer, her charm and frolics on stage, drew the crowd closer to the audience as she seemed to weave some spell. Breaking through the usual semi-circle force field that separates a support artist from its audience.  ‘Alone With You’, one of her better known tracks (200,000 views on YouTube) was powerful and grand, showing her ability as yet another accomplished young Australian singer.

So, to Tigertown we go, a little place that is full of joy and catchy songs.  There has been quite a bit of publicity surrounding the band’s debut EP Lonely Cities, with Triple J and other taste makers (including The Wandering Lamb) tuning in to taste the flavours of this pop concoction. The band joyously walk on stage to a happy crowd who seem to know what they are in for, a night of upbeat, reassuring and familiar 80s influenced pop music, that you cant help feel has a bit of high school American sweetheart about it.

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Charlie Collins has a well-trained and manicured set of pipes on her, parading proudly around the stage singing through stand out tracks “Make It Real” “Bullet From A Gun” and the one that most of new from various air plays from the past, “Lonely Cities”.  It was around 45 minutes of sheer musical cheerfulness with a crowd that were either a little older and preferred the subtle head bop, to the younger crew who danced like it was Woodstock all over again.

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Returning to the stage to lace the crowd with a final smothering of sweet pop music, they covered John Farnham’s “Pressure Down”, never a fan of the old crooner but they managed to make it their own, and boy, did we feel proper Aussie.  Closing the show with their first hit single “What You Came Here For”, the crowd were loving it, adoring fans getting what they want.  As for The Wandering Lamb’s verdict, it was ever so happy and celebratory but having spent that day listening to Sigur Ros, The Smiths and Mazzy Star, we felt slight overwhelmed!  A great show, nevertheless.

Photography by Steven Marshall

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