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TANAYA HARPER/LEAH GRANT @ Lyric’s Underground gets 8/10


Tanaya Harper/Leah Grant @ Lyric’s Underground
w/ Ribs
Saturday, June 20, 2020

8/10

The short lived Phase 3 of the COVID-19 roadmap for WA, created a two week window where venues were required to host shows in unique circumstances. Punters had to be seated during and socially distanced while watching bands perform. What resulted at this dual launch of releases that first appeared during lockdown was an evening that few in attendance will be likely to forget, not only for the music, but also for the ambience. 

The format worked well for Ribs, who had a captive audience as she sat behind her keyboard and launched head on into songs about anxiety, mental health and being a young woman in Perth. Before Ribs began to play, she made a genuine acknowledgement of country and the traditional owners of the land. It is something that more performers and venues should consider. Latest single The Long Walk To Free Parking was the high point, and included the clever lyric “someone says that my arse looks like Christmas Day, makes me hate my body and my favourite holiday”. Ribs’ easy stage banter and bright delivery surely won her some new fans during this all-too-brief outing. 

Leah Grant was raised on a farm in the rock lobster capital of Australia. Her songs reflect the earthy timbre of farm life, with Grant being unafraid to get a bit of dirt under her nails. Launching her own EP, Grant and her band were on the money despite enduring a tricky year for band rehearsals. Matt Geary was brought in on bass guitar for the night and made his presence felt early when advising other band members that they had the capo on the wrong fret, while effortlessly playing bass lines that locked the tunes down deftly. Grant’s pleasant and melodic delivery can hide the gritty subject matter as she sings of subjects such as murders in a close knit community and the atrocities of dairy farming. 

Tanaya Harper is no stranger to playing gigs, and deserved the sold out venue for the launch of her newest release, the excellent Slow Motion Breakup (check out our review HERE). She opened with the title track which was given an extended workout and a shoegaze heavy makeover. The band then continued to play the rest of the songs from the EP in order. Beau Torrance added some tidy guitar lines throughout, with Crash Pad being a standout moment. As fine a voice as Harper has on her recordings, it is in the live setting where her sublime tones set her apart from her peers. 

Despite being hot under the lights, Harper announced that she would not be taking her jacket off as “I have PMS and I have eaten too much, so I am not feeling my most pretty”. It is this type of disarming banter alone that can make her shows worth the price of admission. After a hasty decision to play some songs from her debut EP Some Kinds, Harper ushered her band off stage to tackle the more intimate tales of The Well and Disassociate in solo mode.

With her next batch of recordings already done and dusted, Harper recalled her band, and gave a preview of the tunes that will be available later in the year. Harper admitted that she “really, really liked” having to stay home during the pandemic. Thankfully for the rest of us, there will be greater opportunity to see her perform in the near future. 

CHRIS HAVERCROFT

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