4ZZZ launched its glorious tradition of counting down listeners' 100 favourite songs on New Year's Day 1977. More than 10 years later, 2JJJ in Sydney (which employed many ex-Zed staff) began conducting its own Hot 100. Because 4ZZZ held the rights to the name Hot 100, there was a little bit of legal biffo when TripleJ became a national broadcaster, so they changed the name of their survey to the "Hottest 100".
Emma Louise @ The Triffid
The Triffid was a bit emptier than usual on Saturday night when I went down to catch the Brisbane leg of Emma Louise’s tour, in support of her new album Supercry. The weather was a bit drizzly, and there were still tickets on the door, but I didn’t mind, as I was sure the angelic clarity of her voice would wipe any negativity from my mind.
Opening the night were Gold Coast newbies Lastlings, who are making an impact very quickly, especially given their young age. They had the same set up as the last time I had seen them – one synth and a guitar, and female vocals. They opened their set to a pretty empty room, but that didn’t seem to impact their confidence, which had drastically improved since the last time I had seen them, only a few weeks ago. Single Stranger was a highlight of their set. By this time they had summoned some punters in from the rain and the dance floor was starting to get a bit more exciting. Some of the synth sounds they were producing seemed very hard in contrast to her youthful, sweet voice, however, Lastlings really seemed to make that contrast work for them in a way that is becoming their signature sound. They finished off their set with Youth, another one of their newer singles.
Fractures came on at 9.15, to a quickly filling room. Their three piece, indie pop/rock outfit had a practised sound, which was amplified by the virtuosity of the drummer. Opening with Cadence, Fractures were quick to draw people right to the front of the stage – and for good reason. Lead singer Mark (which you could call him if you weren’t a douchebag), owned the between song banter with tongue-in- cheek humour, declaring The Triffid a 9/10 venue, compared to the Brightside, which earned a slightly less desirable rating of 6/10 (in his non-expert opinion). The only downside to his set was the amount of feedback some of the mics were giving out. Whether that was his fault, or an issue from the sound desk, I don’t know, but the professionality of his performance outweighed the issues. Singles Alchemy and I Don’t Mind, were also highlights of his set, the latter bombarding you with such an intense wall of sound that you couldn’t help but feel the music right down to your bones.
Emma Louise came on the stage at about 10.30, dressed in a shiny silver suit that was strategically picking up all the cool lights being projected on the stage. The opening notes of I Thought I Was A Ship silenced the audience, and two dancers – a male and a female – dressed in white underwear joined her, in an interpretive dance, which combined with the raw emotion dripping from Emma’s voice, created such a sombre and paining energy in the room that I’m pretty sure I saw a tear in the eye of the guy standing behind me.
The dancers and then replaced with the band, and they launch into new single Talk Baby Talk, and older single Boy, both which elevated the energy in the room. (This may have also been due to the totally rad female drummer who was drawing the eye of both all the men and women in the room). As she had spent the last 5 years of her life in Brisbane, she addressed the crowd about how most of the songs were written in Brisbane, so playing a hometown show was always a bit more special to her.
Shut The Door, another emotional song on the new record saw a return of the dancers, this time in black. Next up was Nowhere, which was written over smashed avocado in a Brisbane café (possibly why Emma doesn’t own her own home yet), which featured an epic guitar solo from her guitarist, who was wearing silver brogues to match her suit. Her ‘Like A Version’ cover of Nick Cave’s song Into My Arms saw her move to the piano, which was painted in the same colour scheme as all the artwork from her record cover. Single Underflow saw the last return of the dancers, who danced around Emma in a way similar to in her video clip for the same song.
Other highlights of the night were an acoustic performance of West End Kids, which saw a return of just Emma and her guitar, like in her early days, which was refreshing. A performance from her keyboardist Yo, of his own song Got No Game broke up her set, and was an interesting decision from a sophomore artist on their headline show. Grace, Two Bodies and breakout song Jungle, filled up the rest of the set, before the finale song, newest single Illuminate, which is also my favourite song from the album.
Her music was laden with angst and despair, and I feel like she was putting up a good façade for some emotional pain that is not quite vanquished from her mind, despite the honesty of her performance and lyrics. However Emma Louise was illuminating and magical, and seems to possess a kind of clarity which can silence a crowd in seconds. This was a magical show, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Art by Moonshine-Madness ArtforMusic
Painting by Emma Louise