GRIEVOUS BODILY CALM @ The Bird gets 9/10

Grievous Bodily Calm Repel Launch @ The Bird
w/ Rabbit Island, Sivakumar Balakrishnan & Praashekh Borkar, DJs Kelz & Yira
Saturday, March 30, 2019


Many took the advice offered by Grievous Bodily Calm (GBC) to arrive early to the Bird on Saturday night for the launch of their debut studio release, Repel. Promised to be an opening act like no other, Sivakumar Balakrishnan & Praashekh Borkar played a set of classical Indian music on the tabla and sarod. The performance was mesmerising and hypnotic, with outstanding technical skill displayed by both performers. As the venue filled quickly and drinks were bought, the background chatter became increasingly difficult to ignore. Alex Reid, drummer of GBC, asked if they would like him to say something to the crowd, to which the performers calmly declined in a guru-like manner.

The Bird had a cosy, community vibe which suited the night perfectly, but became it quickly became apparent that could be too small for this popular five-piece. The narration from Reid throughout the night, introducing each performer and making sure to give thanks and acknowledgement, set the tone for a night that was dedicated to truly appreciating music, not just a big Saturday blowout.

Rabbit Island
was an interesting choice for second support, offering her signature tunes that on the surface are calm and melodic but deep down are waves filled with rolling emotion. Yet when considering GBC’s dedication to conveying emotion through music, Amber Fresh’s cut throat intimacy clouded in drifty moving piano was a perfect fit. Brett Smith accompanied her on saxophone adding a strength that she perhaps was worried she would lack. A few technical difficulties set her back (such as an amp not working), but Fresh moved seamlessly as if it wasn’t a set back, just something that might happen if you were watching her jam out in her living room.

The crowd was unfortunately loud during this set. At times it looked as if Fresh was trying to make eye contact with certain talkers, although at other moments she appeared relaxed and unfazed, lost in the music.

DJs Kelz & Yira
kept the vibe between sets, with infectious and funky bangers. It would have been nice for them to have got a bit more of a dance floor, but they didn’t seem to mind; all smiles and laughs as they shared grooves back-2-back.

Grievous Bodily Calm took to the stage in their signature positions. Alex Reid on drums and mic, Zac Grafton on bass, Matthew McGlynn in the centre on trumpet, shred lord Edo Ekic on guitar and the always energetic Josiah Padmanabham on keys. The band have no doubt nailed their stage dynamic, with Reid and Padmanabham offering movement and energy in the wings, while the calm and humble trio holds down the centre.

After Padmanabham played a snippet of Baby Shark on keys as a warm up, and a well received acknowledgment to country, Reid announced they would play the entirety of Repel.

A standout song was Inner Firmament, where Allira Wilson nailed her vocal section. As were the ‘bigger band’ songs, which saw Geordie Bain, Harry Mitchell and Brett Smith join them onstage to turn up the jazz a notch. The sound was well executed and visuals by Tom Rogers were eye catching without drawing attention away from the musicians. The execution was unsurprisingly tight, considering Repel was recorded over a year ago. The crowd lapped up every solo, melody and groove thrown at them and joy filled the room.

There’s no doubting GBC are one of the most exciting outfits in Perth at the moment, with their catchy genre blending instrumentals. Repel is a fantastic release and had a launch night to match. While the crowd couldn’t exactly walk away singing any of the songs, they were definitely trying their best to hum each tune.


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