Live Review: Ladyhawke The Bakery

26 July 2012 | 10:15 am | Rebekah Barnett

A roomfull of people singing “You set me on fire!” is a great way to start, and Brown and band kept raising the bar from there

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Supporting Ladyhawke at The Bakery on a chilly Tuesday night, the running-hot Emperors played a solid set to an appreciative audience. The Perth band are on a winning streak this year, having played the Big Day Out, dropped a critically applauded album, received a heap of j play and earnt the WAMi Award for Most Promising Act. Live, they are intense and loud - classic indie rock. It was a shame the vocals weren't up higher in the mix, as they tended to get buried under the freight train guitar mashing and drum thrashing.

Pip Brown is pretty awkward. Straight up she told the audience she never knows what to say, so she'd better just say nothing. The lady was right – a recurring joke about her potent drink was cringe-inducing. She did much better when she grinned at the end of every song and smiled 'Thank you', like a kid receiving applause at a school play. Cute and gawky, Brown is more endearing than cool.

But as Ladyhawke, Brown is pure cool. Touring on the back of her second album, Anxiety, Brown has quite the collection of radio winners up her sleeve and started out with an early favourite, Back Of The Van. A roomfull of people singing “You set me on fire!” is a great way to start, and Brown and band kept raising the bar from there. Radio single, Black, White & Blue, was even better live than recorded, the aural equivalent of getting clearer focus on an image in Photoshop.

In the hour and a half set there wasn't one song that sounded like filler, which says a lot for Brown as a songsmith, but also for the energy and freshness imbued in the live performance. Amusingly, despite playing with the force and precision of a beating heart, if the bass player had appeared any more laid-back he may have fallen over. Saving current single, Sunday Drive, for the end, followed by the fantastic Paris Is Burning, Ladyhawke exited the stage, only to pop back a few minutes later declaring, “It wasn't the end, I was tricking!” For the encore it was a treat to hear Brown's cover of creepy tune White Rabbit, originally by Jefferson Airplane. Under blue spots and behind a fairy-light-wound mic stand, Brown went a little bit Alice on us. My Delirium was saved for the real ending, triggering enthusiastic shouts of “Hey!” from the audience before Ladyhawke left the stage for real this time.

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