Japanese Wallpaper at Jack Rabbit Slim’s in Perth
Japanese Wallpaper in Perth. Picture: Joe Wilson

Review: Japanese Wallpaper at Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Perth, 27 August 2016

8.5
Shimmering dream-pop.

The Perth leg of Japanese Wallpaper’s Cocoon single tour was a show beset with shimmering, dream-pop melodies across three talented acts; each adding a unique element to the night as a whole.

Supported by Lanark and E^ST, it was a welcome reprieve from the dreary, wet and wintry weather outside; with punters huddling to catch a glimpse of their favourite acts.

Lanark was first to hit the stage, tossing out a smooth and dreamy textured indie-pop sound. With its fleeting melodies, the band’s music was ethereal enough to allow a listener to come close to forgetting where they were, but at the same time possessed a realist, indie-rock edge.

The band’s articulately layered sound gave off some serious Tame Impala vibes, with lead singer Damian Diggs wispily sounding vaguely like frontman Kevin Parker. Anyone willing to take look at these guys live are not going to be disappointed.

Rising star E^ST gave an impressive cross-section of musical style and visual sass.

At the halfway point between a charismatic MC and an eloquent vocalist, E^ST could have been either. Heck, even a rap set wouldn’t have been outside her limits. One moment she would stretch out her arm with a mic in the other hand, belting out a chorus and in another impressively doing what appeared to be the crunk.

Smashing out hits like Get Money! and Old Age, the crowd danced away in ecstasy. E^ST broke away from the more dance-driven tunes and delved into an earlier, more heartfelt song; adding an emotional intensity to her performance and belting out her deep and husky vocals.

The wait for Japanese Wallpaper was lengthy due to the vast array of equipment needed. Armed with a guitar and surrounded by a mic and keyboards in all directions. Artist Gab Strum was backed by a live band, featuring vocal supports from 2016 Triple J Unearthed High winner Gretta Ray; a fitting addition since Strum won the award back in 2014.

The venue was already awash with thick, juicy synths and ethereal vocals from Strum. Artfully pressing and pulling away at the production equipment in front of him, poetic sounds emerged from the speakers; soothing the crowd into an active, hypnotic lull.

Artfully pressing and pulling away at the production equipment in front of him, poetic sounds emerged from the speakers; soothing the crowd into an active, hypnotic lull.

With many tracks featuring guest performers, Ray filled those roles – Forces being a great example. The light and airy vocals of Airling were replaced with Ray’s strong and earthy vocals, adding a tenacious and mature edge to the track.

The latter half of the set turned into a fiesta, filled with blinding lights and more dancing punters.

Ray stole the limelight further by coming out from behind the backing vocals keyboard and coming out with a solo set, in some ways bolstering; if not complimenting Strum’s set. A drum solo midway through a song gave the set the sweaty feel of a rock concert.

Finishing up with a barrage of hits, Strum left the stage to rapturous applause, with no need of encore after such a generous set.




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