DUSTIN TEBBUTT & LISA MITCHELL @ Badlands gets 7.5/10

Dustin Tebbutt & Lisa Mitchell @ Badlands
w/ Alex the Astronaut
Saturday, June 24, 2017

While the winter nights have been getting ridiculously frosty, Perth was busy cosying up to the intimate arrangements of the dreamy touring duo Dustin Tebbutt and Lisa Mitchell at Badlands Bar on Saturday night. A stage bedecked in fairy lights, ribbons and abstract spotlights powered the alluring affair as even the cavernously designed chamber of old Deville’s was filled with the warm whispered charm of the main acts.

The sonically rising Alex the Astronaut debuted her first appearance in Perth with an unplugged acoustic set that in no way detracted from the punchy melodies of the almost spoken word biography led lyrics. Seeming entirely comfortable as she wound her way through crowd favourites Rockstar City and Almost Home to the timely yew’s of the fan boys up front, while tracks like William and Georgia and Not Cool rounding out the folk speckled setlist.

Opening the stage with Plans, Dustin Tebbutt set the mood early, the gentle echoing instrumentals gathering under chiming choruses as he wound out effortless vocals. The decorated mic stand set aside for his co-headliner was a glaring space teasing anticipation until a serene Lisa Mitchell nonchalantly emerged mid song, lending backing vocals to Tebbutt’s First Light. The differences in their vocals as they harmonised back and forth was seriously enticing, lending an extra dimension to the performance without being obtrusive or succumbing to a generic duet recital as they blended indie pop and electric folk.

Gaining instant traction with Mitchell’s own The Boys and Neapolitan Dreams while Tebbutt retreated to side of stage, the set was a constant rotation of scene changes, the breaks between songs veritable intermissions as the room struggled to catch the artists murmurs. The only disenchantment was the portion of audience convinced this was just another pub band to talk over, standing in the front row there was only so much raucous chatter about some persons unfaithful fiancé I could handle before I had to begrudgingly put on the fun police hat and ask them for a little hush so we could return to what was left of Tebbutt’s composed delivery of Bones.

See Your Gold and Coin Laundry turned an uplifting corner before the set entered its final quintet with The Breach and Spiritus. Absolutely glowing over each other and the audience in their own coyly modest fashion, Mitchell and Tebutt closed out the show with a cover of RUFUS’ Innerbloom that was as ethereal and blissful as hoped, the layering of the duos vocals perfectly and hauntingly moody as it washed over the venue. Although a fair dose of intimacy suffered throughout the set, the pair never faltered. Everlasting pats on the back to keyboardist/ guitarist and overall vibing backup dancer Ben Corbett for suggesting these two musicians share the stage.

STEPH PAYTON

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