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Live Review: Ladyhawke, All The Colours

19 July 2012 | 9:55 am | Tahlia Anderson

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Josh Moriarty (Miami Horror) is sporting a silver bow tie; drummer Jonathan Toogood dons a red one; but, apart from that, All The Colours are decidedly colourless. There are initial issues with foldback, transitions often feel clunky and an anxious moment halfway through where it's unclear whether the crowd is clapping because they think a Cali-Surfer interlude has concluded or because they're trying to rally on the foursome. It's a shame because the “progressive vintage” All The Colours is trying to achieve is a nice idea. Single Love Like This plays like an updated Sergeant Pepper; Moriarty is as great as ever on keys; Josh Mann arguably better on vocals; but for a band who cite their sound as “the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino film yet to be made”, let's hope that film is still a few years in production.

As half the room shuffles away from Billboard's main bar, a fairy light-covered mic lights up centre stage. Four figures, dishevelled in that way only musos can pull off, quietly take their places and Ladyhawke appears from under a tuft of blonde bangs. It's always nice to stick to familiar territory when there's been a long absence between friends and Ladyhawke, who seems as docile as ever, lures the obviously adoring crowd in with Back Of The Van – the first single off her 2008 self-titled album. With the trust established, Blues Eyes from her latest offering Anxiety sets the tone for what is formidably a '90s nostalgia album.

Title track Anxiety and the line, “I've always been so cautious/But I'm so sick of feeling nauseous,” are a breakthrough for Wellington-born Pip Brown, who always struggles interacting with audiences, but an injection of energy is needed to match the conviction of the lyrics. However, Ladyhawke is never inauthentic. In fact, as she thanks the audience in between songs, she may very well be the sincerest performer ever. It's just this repetition doesn't translate as well into music. Black, White And Blue borders on lacklustre, a colourful backdrop of strobe lighting unsuccessfully distracts from the sameness of a lot of new songs and Sunday Drive feels half-remembered – although it creates an upbeat change of pace.

Aside from this, it's the tracks off Ladyhawke's debut: Paris Is Burning, Dusk Till Dawn and Better Than Sunday that elicit the most energy on both sides of the mic, and My Delirium is a crowd-pumping no-brainer as a closer. In the end, Ladyhawke delivers a tight technical performance, but in terms of a show, it lacks the panache needed to fully overcome her stage anxiety.

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