Live Review: Nathan Kaye

4 May 2015 | 3:18 pm | Staff Writer

Wednesday night at Mojo’s Bar brought two of Australia’s best independent artists together. Riley Pearce, playing to a small beer-swilling crowd, immediately won everyone over.

His indie-pop stylings featured charming melodies befitting Mojo’s atmosphere. His sweet sense of humour, pointing out the sheer disparity, helped bring every patron together. The Long Road and Brave showcased Pearce’s scintillating prowess. The 20-something utilised his guitar skills to full effect, switching up between silky acoustic sounds and thumping beats.

Pearce talked readily about his experiences in Montana last year. Having written several songs during his travels, he dedicated several numbers to the world’s wonders. His latest hit, Roskie, instantly proved a crowd favourite. Brianna, a hard-hitting break-up ballad, brought soulful licks to an otherwise upbeat set. His cover of The Killers’ When You Were Young also brought gravitas to his strong set. Circles, Seasick and Outside The Lines presented the past, present and future of Pearce’s uplifting career.

Nathan Kaye was left the task of surpassing Pearce’s undeniable likability and lift Mojo’s into the stratosphere. His opening number – a ten-minute instrumental featuring didgeridoo, kickdrum, snare drum, cymbal and acoustic guitar amongst others – immediately resonated with his half-drunk audience, the number’s thunderclap beat and insatiable rhythm sending everyone into a toe-tapping/head-bopping spin. Throughout, Kaye’s winning personality and unique ideas delivered multiple surprises. One crowd member’s dance-like-no-one’s-watching moves added to the enjoyment factor.

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Between songs, Kaye enlightened us with his anti-establishment/pro-unity speeches. Not only did he illuminate his stirring musical talents, but his grasp on politics, philosophy and spirituality also amplified the event’s stirring emotional current. However, despite being the ultimate Australian prophet, Kaye’s modesty and charisma drew people in off the street. Speaking to recent geo-politically-charged events, renditions of A Moment In Your Life and Human Life fused intelligent lyrics with eclectic hooks and strums. His set, delivering old and new tracks, displayed the singer-songwriter’s undying love for music, love and good vibes.

Indeed, Kaye’s phenomenal positivity (“Juice of Life”) had been cranked up to 11. Pulling off flawless impressions and kooky noises, his persona made as much impact as his music. History Of Tomorrow and Silence were delivered with a hearty balance of stirring heft and electrifying riffs. Kaye took time out to explain the significance of his one-man-band routine. Describing each instrument, the like-no-other musician’s aura became increasingly tangible. Lapsteel slide guitar renditions of Lucky Man Story, Wings and Black Betty got audience members up onto the dance floor. Kaye ended the evening with a beatbox-heavy mix of 1980s hits, kooky impressions and Michael Jackson-inspired dance moves. Kaye and Pearce, without question, lived up to their reputations.