Review: Gordi at Mojos Bar, Perth, 6 December 2017
The first of two live dates out west, Gordi‘s performance at Mojos was a great way to herald her first headline gig in Perth. Having only performed as a support act for Icelandic musician Asgeir earlier in the year, it clearly showed that Perth punters were eagerly keen for another rendition of her live music.
The anguish of being a Perth resident stuck in the Melbournian winter – in December – was felt from Danny Barwick. Telling the punters he had lived over east for 6 years, he was probably thankful for the warm weather. His set built with intensity from interest electronic soundscapes and deeply frank vocals being later overlayed with the impressive, extravagant exhibitionist character of the saxophone.
Finishing in a crescendo of haphazardly cut audio samples and smooth, swill beats, Barwick thanked the crowd and packed his gear, humbly finishing a particularly awesome return for an expat Perth artist. Hopefully the West coast will remember his name for quite some time yet.
The crowd coalesced and mobilised fairly quickly in order to grab a spot to see Stella Donnelly. A local artist having been making the rounds both nationally and internationally the past year, it was awesome to witness Donnelly developing as an artist firsthand (and a PSA to support your local support acts, people!).
With an indomitable wit running throughout her set, her live presence was as deliciously comedic as it was musically fresh. Armed solely with a guitar, with the crowd attentively listening, Donnelly made us laugh, cry and whatever else was left in between. Whether it was the announcement of her Welsh family’s reaction as to why her EP, Thrush Metal, was named after an STD, or the frank and critical commentary of masculinity and rape culture in ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, and even the affectionate love for the bar staff at the back of Mojos from ‘Mechanical Bull’.
With the crowd now eager for Gordi, there was an interesting captivation felt by the punters when she played. Humorously making note of a rowdy Hobart crowd halfway through her set, the Perth crowd was the complete opposite. Throughout her entire run there was only slight movement to the music. It was clear Gordi had successfully managed to hold the gaze of the Perth crowd.
All the hallmarks of Gordi’s music was there; huge, burgeoning sounds sweeping across the venue and her deep, sultry vocals giving away that untenable characterisation. Opening with ‘Wanting’ and ‘On My Side’, the crowd were certainly warmed up. Telling us she had lost her harmonium called ‘Barbara’ at home just after flying out to Perth, the crowd got a brief insight into the pitfalls of touring life, if not a little empathy.
There was a deep emotive quality felt by her music. From the deeply introspective, quiet verses to the thunderous choruses, Gordi had the crowd in the palm of her hand. Whether it was the cover of Courtney Barnett’s ‘Avant Gardener’, wherein the sarcastic song was turned into emotive ballad, to ‘Long Way’, a song detailing the pains of long distance, the performance was heart wrenching as it was soulful.
Like most encores, there is something manufactured and awkward about them. Acknowledging the status quo, Gordi ran through the motions with the band, moving back and forth to the stage between applause. Walking through mistakes like they were nothing (the sampling for ‘Can We Work It Out’ suddenly coming out of the speakers during ‘Long Way’), the crowd just loved the band even more.
With the loud, rapturous drums emerging for the final number, it was a fitting conclusion, as Gordi had left the crowd captivated and mesmerised.