Words: Alex Hindley
The energetic and well crafted live performances of Perth's power pop duo Phocal cut through the dried fray that is more than necessarily offered to patrons on a Friday night. Headlining at The Bird, the pair curated a night of superb talent and genuinely interesting performances.
Opening the evening was tasked to the wizard Leafy Suburbs, who's gorgeous ambiance and playful sounds laid a strong foundation for the night to come. Dancing between dreamy melancholia and effortless effervescence, solo front runner Lyndon Blue utilised the powers of physical sound manipulation like no other. The stage, adorned with its many layouts of keys and samplers, was peppered with lush plants and foliage that were, by some technical effort and magical production, hooked up to a synthesiser so that each pinch on the nerves of a stem or the rapping of fingers on leaves produced trickling and airy sounds. Incorporating reverb drenched vocals and a myriad of digital and concrète sounds, Leafy Suburbs cultivated a truly beautiful musical and live performance experience.
Following act, Bahasa Malay, armed simply with her self production and hugely dynamic voice set a new pace for the evening. Upping the tempo and heart rates in the room, Malay layered sugary vocals with evolving melodies and beats, perfectly punctured by percussion. A journey down a winding path of expressive vocals and experimentation, a sound that rivals many solo acts in Perth. Purity of sound is the dominant projection Bahasa Malay lays atop the swaying crowds.
Closing, headlining and exploding the night was the act in question, Phocal. The duo of Phoebe Gunson's powerful pop vocals and JCAL's professional production and live drum work always make for a truly impressive performance. Every song was laced with a sense of deja-vu in splendour, as if you had already fallen in love with it years ago, like Phocal are on a reunion tour. The entire set was so wonderfully melodic, groovy and memorable. It's unquestionable that the marriage of effortless and powerful vocals with modern and yet timeless production that Phocal provides will hurtle them further and faster into the realms of respected and adored artistry in Perth and Australia.
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