YOU SAW THEM FIRST @ Freo.Social gets 7/10

You Saw Them First! @ Freo.Social
Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Freo.Social has quickly become the hottest new venue for live music and a very decent craft beer. Split up into four sections, the venue gives way to completely different experiences. Whether that’s an intimate rendezvous in a quiet corner, an out back acoustic set or a rambunctious beer paired with a food truck snack, they seem to have thought of everything. However, the entertainment hall was where you were meant to be on Wednesday night for their second installment of You Saw Them First!.

I’d yet to experience the grand entertainment hall and it was beer hall-esque with long tables and high roofs but the black tablecloths and the moon globes gave off an air of elegance and charm. With an hour of background music for dinner, there were busy camera crews about from channel seven getting a little look-see at this European styled ‘dinner and a show’ bonanza.

MC Maurizio was an ecstatic and warm presence that brought a bit of love and energy to the room as he introduced the bands whilst remembering to give himself a pat on the back for his own presentation skills.

Zolo Li

Zola Li was first on the bill and this quirky Taiwanese girl was full of one liners that might have been lost in translation, or just forward. She told a story about a man 20 years older than she was who she only agreed to go out with for a free meal and wrapped up with ‘This song is a thank you for the applause, because that’s what I want tonight’. Her jazzy and delicate sound with the feature of the violin reminded me of a sunny day on an Italian piazza which all felt rather sophisticated.

The idea of a resident band is just so ingenious – to have singer-songwriters who have never really played on a stage before have the support from a well refined and experienced session musician gives this event maturity with an added air of newcomer spirit.


Up next, Kozo was a mixed bag – with a bucket hat and a spray jacket I expected a hip hop/ rap vibe but what we got was some cool Tom Misch vibes, playing originals Long Day and Blue Day – “I have a lot of days don’t I?” – before melting us with a cover of Adele’s Right As Rain.

As I looked around the room the crowd was a mature blend of people really enjoying a night out at reasonable sound levels and in comfort! Such an untapped and unexplored market that has been brought to life.

Alexis Naylor

Alexis Naylor had some emotional ballads that resonated with mental health and her own experiences before covering Sam Smith’s Too Good at Goodbyes. The mix of originals and one cover throughout the night was a super successful combination to keep things familiar.

Abbe May

Someone not too new to the stage however, was headliner Abbe May. The first utterance was “Fuck” after she admitted sometimes she gets nervous when she’s going through a sober patch and “tonight she’s just on oxygen and H2O”. She cut straight to the chase with a song for her niece Sophie and there was a whole lot of unbridled power there. May felt like a hard ass woman on the back of a Harley Davidson weaving through the Nevada desert with nothing but the shirt on her back; hard and hot, black fingernails at a swanky bar. The backing tracks to some of the songs felt a little cheap, no matter how good the production but she is Shreddy McGee on that guitar. Her cover of Ginuwine’s Pony was extra dirty and a dance floor would have definitely not gone astray.

After one final entrance from MC Maurizio sprinting towards the stage in beautiful late Italian fashion, the wholesome evening was swiftly wrapped up.


Photos by Adrian Thomson


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