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BRITISH INDIA @ The Newport Hotel gets 7/10


British India @ The Newport Hotel
w/ Spacey Jane
Friday, June 1, 2018

7/10

In their tenth year touring the west coast, Melbourne-born British India played three gigs in our little city last weekend. On their trip they hit up the Newport Hotel on Friday, Badlands Bar on Saturday followed by a tumultuous show at Indi Bar on Sunday evening. Their national single tour for Midnight Homie had fans old and new trot to their closest gig to become immersed in their six album body of music.

Spacey Jane

Spacey Jane supported at all three shows during their Perth stint as well as supporting WAAX on Saturday night, and then SOTA on the Monday public holiday. When you watch them live, there isn’t much surprise as to why they’ve been making huge waves on the local Perth scene. They’re impossibly young but it doesn’t come across in their skill. It just means they have heaps more energy to be bouncing around the stage putting on a great show. They played songs from their EPs No Way To Treat An Animal and double A-side In the Meantime which have some euphoric pent-up and youthful ballads of love. The lead singer has the same flexibility in his vocals as Alex Turner and their stage presence felt very authentic to their genre, which could be concerning if they focus on their image too much and lose track of making sure their music is tight.

British India

British India started at 9.30 which is pretty early for a headliner. I didn’t mind too much as I thought about their week ahead, but it felt weird to be doing death circles at a gig so early on in the night. The set kicked off with Precious from Forgetting the Future. Defying the title, there wasn’t much about this song that could be called precious. Missing the piano aspects in the latter of the song, they amped up the guitar and got straight into rocking out. Following suit, the boys provided a three-minute guitar solo during Just Sing Like Everybody Else. With their last album sounding very experimental it was interesting to see how their stage performance would adapt, but after ten years of touring they’re still the same indie rock royalty. Half the crowd didn’t have drinks in their hands by halfway through the set, clearly too fixated by the band to move anywhere. Anthems of rock spanning across their career rolled off the stage as they hit I Can Make You Love Me, Vanilla and God Is Dead.

British India

From an aesthetic perspective, there is something appealing about their casual stage demeanour. You have to wonder whether Wilson, the lead guitarist, ever smiles. There were fans worshipping his guitar and screaming to him and he looked so unimpressed as his hands flew across his fretboard. I like a band that tells you with their body language that they’re doing you a favour. The way they broke up their gigs across three smaller venues rather than one big venue felt like enough of a nod to their fans. It meant that more of their people could see them and see them more intimately—whether it was intentional or not.

ANNIE MUNROE

Photos by Karen Lowe

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