Live Review: Father John Misty, Mosman Alder, Melodie Nelson

31 July 2012 | 10:35 am | Alex Hardy

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Melodie Nelson opened the evening with some super chilled folky pop, which was nicely complemented by sweet female vocal harmonies and cello. However an injection of energy would have been welcome and severely boosted their stage presence, which was largely unenthused despite there being quite a crowd of them (six) on stage. Frontwoman and brainchild of the project Lia Tsamoglou had a nice voice with a slightly husky yet delicate edge, but she sang with no emotion and, while the early crowd were listening, they were not captivated.

Brisbane's Mosman Alder were much more engaging after only 30 seconds. Their music had a darker, melancholic edge, which was heightened by dissonant keys, violin, distorted guitar and some gorgeous deep vocals from Valdis Valodze that rang with earthy vibrato. Despite the absence of their usual keys player who was apparently off sick with chickenpox, her replacement was highly entertaining and didn't drop a beat at all. They didn't interact much on stage but there was a unified energy between them which bloomed during their joint chorus for Raisin Heart. Coupled with some nifty drumming, these guys kept the audience's attention.

Six was the magic line-up number for the evening as Father John Misty also took to the stage with a gaggle. Joshua Tillman was the most entertaining frontman this reviewer has experienced in a while. He seemed totally comfortable and silly on stage, busting some theatrical no-holds-barred dance moves and cheeky banter with the audience, which may have been the result of a jet lag-induced delirium or some other variety. Either way, it was utterly hilarious.

His voice remained in fine form (despite some rather energetic physical interpretations), and every story came to life as he sang it. The energy grew as his set progressed, the music shifted from folk to rockabilly, everyone became considerably more dishevelled, his hips gyrated impressively fast and his mic stand refused to stay in one piece until eventually chaos seemed to erupt on the stage.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings, Nancy From Now On and Sally Hatchet were particularly well received, and although the room was packed like a can of sardines, everyone was enjoying themselves. Although Tillman declared they didn't have an encore prepared, an encore was persuaded and, after a cheeky smooch with a front row female, the icing was delivered to an excellent performance. Every gig should be this fun.