D.D Dumbo @ The Triffid

Musical mastery at its finest

It’s 8.30pm when the lovely Clea takes to the stage.  Unaccompanied, she kicks things off  with a simple melody, gently strummed on an acoustic guitar.  After a while, Clea clears her throat and gently croons to the small but captivated crowd.  There are just a handful of people at this early hour, which only enhances the feeling of intimacy that’s apparent this evening.

After her first song, Clea switches from acoustic to an electric guitar, and is joined on stage by her band mates.  Despite the addition of another guitar, bass and drums, the vibe is decidedly minimalist – which is ideal.  Clea’s incredible vocals are the focal point - as they should be.   Clea gives off a relaxed, folky vibe that sounds beautiful and proves very easy to listen to.

About half an hour after Clea concludes her set, Jonti starts his.  Jonti's set is characterised by looped synths and consistent rhythms.  There’s an obvious house party vibe – pulsing club beats ricochet across the room and make dancing seem inevitable.  The venue has started to fill up now and I think we’re at capacity.  The crowded, sweaty room intensifies the late night club feeling.  I’ve never thought this before - but The Triffid would be a fantastic rave venue.  An abandoned war bunker? Perfection!

Jonti is making me think of another J musician of the 90’s dance music persuasion - Jamiroquai.  It’s not just the music - vocally they sound quite similar. It’s not exactly the same but for me - the inspiration is there. As the evening progresses, the mood starts to shift as a twinkling lullaby-esq intro starts to sound. Jonti seamlessly intersperses slow, chilled out beats with faster, club-ready pop tunes.  A flawless curtain warmer for D. D Dumbo

D.D Dumbo (real name Oliver Perry) comes on stage at 10.45pm accompanied by a cavalcade of instruments and musicians.  The last time I saw Perry live he was a solo act.  I remember being impressed by the way he recorded every instrument, every beat, and every recurring vocal live on stage through a loop pedal before singing over the top.  We, the audience, were privileged to see the songs constructed from start to finish right there in front of our eyes.  I could tell this would be a slightly different but no less impressive experience.

Perry is an accomplished musician, integrating a 12- string guitar, clarinet, and wind chimes into his set - not to mention making use of his incredible vocals.  Throughout the night, Perry's band mates manage to play a bass clarinet, bass recorder, bass, keys, drums, a tambourine and, to be honest, the list keeps going.  It was awesome to see such a diversity of instruments on stage. The bass clarinet is probably the coolest thing I've seen used in a gig.  To be fair - there is a bit of a process involved in keeping these instruments tuned. To keep us entertained during, Perry requests an impromptu cover of Mr Sandman from the keyboardist.  A great way to transition between songs.

Perry sounds as amazing as I remember.  Though he is clearly a proficient musician, rocking clarinet solos and totally slaying on the wind chimes (can you slay wind chimes?) one of Perry’s strongest suits is his vocal ability.  His amazing vibrato sounds incredible live and is the perfect complement to quirky pop tunes like Walrus and Satan

The night seems to go by really quickly – which is a great sign that the music is spectacular.  My personal highlights tonight are Tropical Oceans and Satan.  But the perfect moment came in the set closer.  Brother is my favourite D.D Dumbo tune and I have been holding out to hear it all night.  When Perry mentions at about midnight that they are about to play their last song, I find myself hoping that Brother makes the cut.  And of course it does.  The familiar opening guitar notes sound and a roar of approval follows from the audience.  I realise I’m not alone – Brother is a fantastic song, which sounds great on the album, but really has to be heard live to be completely appreciated.  I’m not even sure why – but live the nuances of the song seem to really shine.  A wonderful way to close the set.  There’s no encore tonight – which is better.  Finish on a high and leave them wanting more.  D.D Dumbo did just that. 

Sarah McGowan

Zed Facts

On 14 December 1988, 4ZZZ was taken off air and forcibly evicted from its UQ premises by the then student union executive, headed by one Victoria Brazil. The move prompted many previously apolitical students to take a firm stand against the move and to rally support for the station. While Zed was not to return to the premises its' volunteers had helped hand-build, unprecedented community support saw the station live to fight another day.