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THE ALEXANDER’S BAND @ The Bird gets 7.5/10


The Alexander’s Band @ The Bird
w/ Physical Release, Peppermint Showers
Friday, November 16, 2018

7.5/10

The Alexander’s Band is the new solo project of local musician Alex Halsey, formerly of Perth garage-psych act The Wheelers of Oz. His debut solo album Post-Love has been warmly received, getting plenty of radio play after being adorned the RTRFM feature album for the week leading up the launch. The release was a bit of surprise package for those not close to Halsey, given the group or even the name of the project was hardly known until a few months ago. Now having formed a full six-piece band to perform the album live, it was going to be intriguing to see how they could capture the magic of what was largely a studio project onstage.

Peppermint Showers

Friday was one of the first genuinely hot days of the incoming summer and there was a real festive vibe in the city as a solid crowd poured into The Bird in Northbridge to catch a night of local music. Peppermint Showers set the tone for the evening perfectly with dreamy, reverb soaked guitars and pristine melodies cutting through the haze. Tanaya Harper fit seamlessly into the line up on guitar and backing vocals in the absence of Axel Carrington (who was apparently on holiday) as they closed out an expressive opening set with a cover of It Was Never Enough by Canadian act Fog Lake.

Physical Release

Next up Physical Release delivered a set that was darker and slower but no less captivating. The drum machine backing the songs gave them an icy industrial touch that complimented vocalist Sarah Arney’s soaring vocals perfectly. The guitars were rich with chorus while the synthesisers provided an eerie touch as they played through popular recent releases Medicinal and Under Skin.

The Alexander’s Band

The Alexander’s Band kicked off their set with album opener Roads, including a lengthy, pensive intro that tugged the crowd toward the stage as the rhythm section and lush acoustic guitar phased themselves in. Popular single In the Summer I Know, the Rain Will Go was another highlight of the set where you could see the full example of how the band had managed to recreate a layered production in real time, with the keyboard and synthesiser providing both the smooth arpeggiated notes on the beat while more ambient nodes swirled on the lower octave. This was the real tool kit that gave the songs the texture that captured the recording, with two layers of keys with effects pedals on top allowing a whole dashboard of sounds to compliment the tracks, but effectively staying to true to the warm and organic notion of the tracks.

The Alexander’s Band

Given that Post-Love was essentially a studio project, it would be fair to expect a slightly ‘unsettled’ live show. While these elements were noticeable if you really paid attention, it was actually more of a strength than a weakness. Alex Halsey hadn’t played these songs live countless times before and you could tell the words he was expressing took a lot to come out and the feelings behind them were still raw. Halsey also showed the depth of his own musical palette too providing the harmonica and flute to close out the set.

That really did sum up the nature of the show. Halsey and crew really could have got away fine with reducing the songs to the basics (ie guitar, bass and drums) for the live show to make it a whole lot easier. But you could tell there was a real drive to do the songs justice, even if it meant stretching to the full breadth of their musical talents. It wasn’t perfect but it was certainly earnest, fixating and most importantly sounded great.

BRAYDEN EDWARDS

Photos by Adrian Thomson

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