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Live Review: Kucera Brothers, Jed Appleton, Silk 'N' Oak, Kat Edwards, James Parry

20 December 2016 | 1:51 pm | Rhys Anderson

"Appleton's presence is irrepressible."

This year's Live Voice Of The Year (voted by NLMA) Jed Appleton was out for blood at The Republic Bar in Hobart. Supported by possibly his best band configuration to date (Seth Henderson on bass guitar and Sam Forsyth on drums) and a liberal application of delays and reverb the three-piece produce a band sound far beyond their stripped-back line-up. Once again, Jed Appleton has put together one of the best live gig line-ups of the year, this time for his self-titled album.

James Parry and Sophie Faraday, playing under the moniker of James Parry are a duo that are so underexposed for the quality of well-devised indie-pop they produce that it's almost offensive. Possibly due to the lack of self promotion, this duo sit just under the surface of popularity. James Parry has an incredible clear-toned voice and falsetto with beautifully crafted lyrics and melodies. These bones are fleshed out with looping guitar lines (at one point Parry manages to change guitars halfway through a song to produce a folk electric dynamic) and pre-programmed drums and keys from Faraday.

Next is Kat Edwards, a 2016 Unearthed finalist who is already building the momentum to take Australia by storm in 2017. Backed by a full band including the prodigious talent of Oscar Bosch (Jensen), the talented Edwards shines as not just a vocalist and songwriter but as a performer.

Cleverly devised lyrics with emotive and hooks and a grin that barely ever leaves her face Kat Edwards is often remarked to be, and for a good reason, a songwriter that writes and plays with far more maturity and intuition than expected from her seventeen years of age. Poetic, soulful, catchy and emotional acoustic brought to life with a full band sound.

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Silk 'N' Oak is a Brisbane country/folk band oscillate between wild rollicking up tempo country and Bruce Springsteen-esque ballads. However the quality of these songs differ wildly and while some strike incredibly well, many are unfortunately forgettable.

Jed Appleton, playing fourth in the five band line-up, puts on a spectacular performance. His show is always as strong and electric as a live-wire. A voice polished and clear, with just a little bit of life's grit, Appleton's presence is irrepressible, cashing in heavily from a long history as a performing busker.

His medley, which starts with original material, moves from Alicia Keys' Fallin' into a cover of Feeling Good that Nina Simone would approve of. This medley is the set highlight. Appleton, who has recently been performing all over the world, has more than earned his stripes in the Australian music scene and on this night not a single person could doubt that his Tasmanian Voice Of The year award was deserved. The album itself is a collection of some of the most memorable and beautiful of Appleton's body of work.

Finally, up stumbles the Kucera Brothers - band in tow. Joined by brass and strings they're a perfect choice to end the night. The harmonies are flawless, the set list (a collection of top-notch originals and covers) builds progressively to a fever pitch. The six-piece ensemble deliver a danceable creative set with brilliant musicianship that still has the loose unpredictable feel of a jam band.