Live Review: Abbe May's Clam Jam

16 February 2018 | 5:26 pm | Mark Beresford

"[May] dropping to her knees during opener 'Like Me Like I Like You' and released a fierce and polished solo on her black Gibson that sent shockwaves into the auditorium."

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It hasn't taken long for Abbe May's Clam Jam shows to become a must-see showcase of brilliant all-female musical talent, so it's unsurprising to see the show taken to Chevron Gardens for Perth Festival.

The soulful voice of Mojo Juju opened the proceedings with tender songcraft and unfiltered banter that worked an intoxicating charm. Softening the still-arriving crowd, she reached into the packed grandstands facing the stage with a passionate performance to bring about a shuffle from even the staunchest punter. Sure, her '50s heartthrob swing rendition of Drake's Hotline Bling helped things along, but it's tracks like her closer Native Tongue that cement her status. With intimate lyrics scribing a family history and culture set to an impacting drum march, it was a roaring full stop on her set.

It's undeniable, Sex Panther can still pack out a dancefloor. Their tracks feel fresher than ever, with wonderfully rich tempo shifts throughout. They take an indie-punk heart, drench it in Australiana and place it atop creative instrumentals that touch on elements of post-rock. Vocalist Storm Wyness, while looking slightly nervous initially, built a dominating presence and eased into a striking vocal performance that wrapped punters up, most notably with rolling waves of Dagger This.

The Chevron Garden floor finally hit peak capacity as Thelma Plum emerged. Plum clearly gives her all on stage, displaying both strength and vulnerability as she effortlessly cruises through her sauve set. Sweeping in with stunning renditions of Father Said and Around Here, Plum's emotive performance is captivating to say the least.

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There was more to the night than just Clam Jam at the Perth Festival, it was also a launch for the marvellous Abbe May and her recently released LP Fruit.

Album launches have the capacity to be slightly watered-down affairs, the room needing time to adapt to a setlist full of new material. For May, this couldn't have been further from the truth. Playing the majority of her new record, May's performance broke out almost instantly. She dropping to her knees during opener Like Me Like I Like You and released a fierce and polished solo on her black Gibson that sent shockwaves into the auditorium. The impact set the tone for the set immediately — one of unceasing celebration and energy. May has always been known for her blistering live performances, but the addition of these recent tracks has elevated her live game once again; from the fuzzed-out guitar lines and falsetto hooks of Are We Flirting to the soaring chorus punching through a gently crooked verse in Seventeen. The simple stage set-up and effortless backing vocals provided by Odette Mercy gave Abbe May everything she needed to officially send her latest creation into the world with an unforgettable bang.