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Live Review: La Bastard

25 February 2014 | 3:08 pm | Glenn Waller

A finely tweaked cover of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic I Put A Spell On You concludes tonight’s highly animated performance from a band who deserve to play to people who can match their intensity.

Punters of various ages are situated around tables that face the stage when La Bastard shift from soundcheck to performance tonight. Polished floorboards accentuate the shimmering reverb emanating from Ben Murphy's Hallmark guitar, and soft strumming introduces the mellow Beaten Down to an attentive crowd. Tealights on tables create a glowing ambience as Anna Lienhop's melodious vocals guide the course of the song. This is not a portent of things to come, however, as Consumption Cowboy dictates the dizzying pace that will continue from here on in.

First gear now skips to fifth, as Murphy commandeers a nearby table, plectrum ablaze, down on his knees and up in people's grills. Dick Straight's driving bass provides the accompaniment for this carry-on, his head down and getting it done. Bewitchery affords Lienhop the chance to shimmy, Murphy's guitar noodling the soundtrack for her hip-shaking. Pitch-perfect whistling follows, evoking high noon in a spaghetti western.

Now it's Straight's turn to be twinkle toes on the table tops, Murphy following suit, not to be outdone. Guitar and bass face off on the dancefloor soon after, with Straight's bass knocking a mirror ball upon his return to the stage. Golden Guitar is halted prematurely, Murphy citing a “wardrobe malfunction – no boobs, though”, but the song quickly recommences to close out their main set.

Twenty minutes pass and the band are now back, kicking off as if they never left with Under My Eyes. Glancing about the room, one is presented with a few senior citizens with fingers in ears and, on more than one occasion, people of advancing years make their way out of the venue to avoid an amplitude overdose. Oblivious to all this (or in defiance of it), Lienhop drapes herself over a table, trying in vain to entice a bearded punter to join her for a wriggle. Slinking off and making the most of an instrumental break, she cuts a swathe through the seated onlookers, giving a master class in getting down. The punchy bass intro to Call Of The Wild gets people clapping in time, and the tomfoolery continues with Murphy, Lienhop and Straight on tables (again), competing for the spotlight.

A finely tweaked cover of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins' classic I Put A Spell On You concludes tonight's highly animated performance from a band who deserve to play to people who can match their intensity.