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Live Review: Jess Locke, The Stroppies, Hollie Joyce

2 March 2018 | 11:02 am | Tobias Handke

"Floating somewhere between the indie-folk of Angel Olsen and the alternative soundscapes of Cat Power, Locke is an undeniable talent."

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Hollie Joyce sounds like she's travelled from back in time to reacquaint today's youth with '60s and '70s rock'n'roll. Her voice is a raucous fireball of soulful grunge and she possesses a commanding stage presence. There's a guttural charm to her vocals - with a touch of Janis Joplin about her - and it's hard not to like what she's about. Feminist anthem Dumb Bitch is a cracking tune that has the audience singing along.

The Stroppies keep things short and sweet with a collection of songs largely taken from their self-titled debut album. The dual male/female vocals give the band an interesting dynamic with their catchy indie-pop offerings easy on the ear. Angus Lord is manic out front, thrusting his guitar and playing keys like a madman as the rest of the band go about their business.

The folk-rock Dangerous begins Jess Locke's enterprising performance as the Melbourne lass kicks off her Australian tour in her home city. Floating somewhere between the indie-folk of Angel Olsen and the alternative soundscapes of Cat Power, Locke is an undeniable talent. She writes emotionally fuelled tunes pulling at the heartstrings, expressing her thoughts and feelings about the modern world through her reflective vocals. Paper Planes is a melodic foot tapper and Border Security creeps up with a subtle guitar lick and driving percussion before interweaving Locke's hypnotic vocals into the fray.

Locke introduces her drummer and bassist - who look like twins with their long, flowing locks - and the trio showcase some of her older tracks, including the lo-fi Change The Sheets and the '90s alternative-influenced Radio. Locke begins talking about the radio and the way we consume music digitally these days, before stumbling on her own words, exclaiming, "This is 100% authentic bullshit, here!" She ditches the small talk for more tunes as a group of bros who seem totally out of place with their colourful floral shirts dance at the front of stage. Locke debuts a new song nobody outside of the band has heard. It's a folk-meets-rock number with her super-impressive vocals the highlight. Locke continually thanks the crowd for coming out and supporting her, and the other bands on the line-up, with fan-favourite Drive To Drink receiving a loud and passionate cheer. Soulful guitar rocker Universe signals the end of Locke's set, bringing a close to a wonderful evening of great local music.

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