Live Review: Clea, L Flora, Polygon Woods

25 March 2019 | 12:55 pm | Nicolas Huntington

"It's just Pratt and her guitar and the room's collective jaw take a nose dive."

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Smaller indie gigs at The Foundry often draw the best die-hard crowds in Brisbane, and this is no different at Clea's Vermillion album launch tonight.

Taking us to space immediately are the eccentric Polygon Woods, whose generous psychedelic pop has been wowing Brisbanites for months. Skate Song justifiably goes off for the smaller than expected crowd, but it’s obvious that the smooth tranquil sounds of Clea are more the speed of most punters.

Transitioning slowly from high-energy to an almost comatose state of relaxation, L Flora take the stage. Riding the line between explosive funk energy and crooning lounge jams - we’re in love. The R&B/neo-soul outfit force a few runners from the smokers' area, as singer Millie Khalu's voice suffuses the room. We’re bopping, and we are going to immediately put this band down on the must-see list for 2019.

Arriving in a Florence Welch-esque dress with her band of merry men in tow, Clea floats on stage - the addition of some heavy fog would have truly completed the vibe. Launching right into several cuts from her debut album Vermillion, it’s a slow start, but first deep cut Bright Blue gets punters to slip on their dancing shoes. Tonight Clea Pratt brings everything her shows are known for – fey dancing, moody breakdowns, endearing mid-song banter, and, most importantly, a solo acoustic jam. A story about meeting musical heroes Grizzly Bear starts Teenager. It's just Pratt and her guitar and the room's collective jaw take a nose dive.

Pratt recently took to the triple j studios to record a breathtaking Like A Version of chart-topper Nothing Breaks Like A Heart. Seeing it repeated tonight felt like a pipe-dream - the energy of the performance seeming impossible to recreate. But Pratt can’t be stopped and pulls it out, bringing even more emotional weight to the track live – unreal.

A surprise left turn sees Pratt's Queensland Music Award Song Of The Year winner Dreaming not ending the set, but its appearance at the tail end receives a slew of Instagram recordings. Even more of a surprise is the very heavy breakdown at the climax of Grey Area. Are we at a Clea show or a punk show? A disappointing lack of personal favourite Dire Consequences leaves us slightly heartbroken but after such an emotional outpouring of love, we are just fine.

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