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Live Review: Saskwatch, Cub Sport, The Aves

31 March 2016 | 1:43 pm | Stephanie Oakes

"Nkechi Anele was the queen of the night, not one moment's opportunity to display pure energy and groove evaded her."

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Descend those sticky, G&T-laden stairs on any Saturday night in Adelaide and the Fat Controller will take you for a ride, showcasing three different Australian acts with three very different sounds.

With their debut LP Good News boasting high rotation on Radio Adelaide, The Aves' garage sound fitted in nicely in the Fattie's basement. Grrl leader Lucy Campbell's bops and jerks got those two wasted Oakbank Races revellers throwing themselves against the barrier early on, screaming out marriage pledges and even a "Thank you, Mister Weasley!" to ginger-locked bassist Tasman Strachan as the set ended. Call of the night?

High energy, fuzzy '70s rock on the venue sound system was replaced by Brisbane darlings Cub Sport. Tim Nelson's bubblegum lyrics paired with shiny synth showcased a cleaner sound since their debut LP, This Is Our Vice. This could have been the perfect time to reconnect with the audience after a while away from the live scene, but unfortunately the band had little stage presence, staring directly at the back of the room or down at instruments the whole time. The first six songs were all brand newies and it wasn't until Cub Sport reached an earlier track that the energy started to lift.

The same cannot be said for Saskwatch. Halfway through an epic 32-show national tour it could be expected that the band would be dwindling, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

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Nkechi Anele was the queen of the night, not one moment's opportunity to display pure energy and groove evaded her and within seconds of opening track I'll Be Fine, the entire room evolved into a cesspool of writhing, swirling bodies.

Bells, tambourines and shiny brass brought the funk-soul collective to life, whirling through a setlist spanning all three albums. Late night club revellers impacted the set a little (while waiting for your 1am DJ, no shits are given when the band politely asks you to be a little quieter?). Slow-burner of the night Blind would have thrived in a festival environment, human bodies evolving into sea sponges, soaking up inevitable tears (or sweat) that Saskwatch's lyrics can inspire.

A cover of Jagwar Ma's Let Her Go, which must have been made for Saskwatch, was a surprise treat. Killing track after track, Saskwatch ended on an encore of the stripped-bare Your Love featuring only Anele and guitarist Rob Muinos, then the boys were back for one last soul-ripping performance of Hands.

They couldn't have put on a better show if they tried. Thank you Mister Weasley and thank you Saskwatch.