Live Review: The Jezabels, Lights, Snakadakal

12 June 2012 | 12:22 pm | Benny Doyle

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It's a bit rude to us older generation that youngsters like Snakadaktal just hop up on massive stages and own it like veterans. Where the hell are these kids learning to write such class music? What is in the water down in Melbourne? Although male vocalist Sean Kelly sounds unnervingly like Coldplay's Chris Martin, especially during Air, the quintet delivers atmospheric moody tunes that owe far much more to bands like The Cure and Warpaint, their new material, driven by Phoebe Cockburn, especially showing that this band could do big things.

Main support is Lights, the electro-pop superstar in waiting. With a boatload of charisma, Miss Poxleitner holds the crowd captivated; her voice strong enough to allow her ultra-catchy melodies to still flood the room, even when competing with some downright bludgeoning synths. A lazy summary would be Kelly Clarkson singing over wobble-beat, but there is so much more going on, the 25-year-old Canadian's backing band especially tight, and their ability to switch instruments, tones and playing styles, as well as fatten out more straight-forward numbers like Siberia, doesn't go unnoticed.

Tonight, The Jezabels show Brisbane that they have finally become the live spectacle that their music has long suggested. A formidable rig of lights surrounds the band, while the mammoth backdrop that watches over the room delivers a visual feast of patterns, colours and themes throughout the set. Although the band have toured considerably in the past 12 months, they still manage to keep things fresh for experienced ears, chopping up various introductions and playing around with the structure sporadically, doing so without once losing their rhythm or momentum. Endless Summer is a big bold opening cut while newer singles like City Girl and Rosebud sound right at home with more established hits like Mace Spray. Performance-wise, the four-piece are on fire; drummer Nik Kaloper's face animated, his patterns complicated, while frontwoman Hayley Mary thrusts, pumps and writhes across every corner of the stage in her trademark skin-tight black bodysuit. The performances moves fluidly towards a great closing stanza which includes A Little Piece and Dark Storm, but the quartet still have some gas left in the tank and stride back onstage to offer perhaps the most black and white shade of their arsenal: beginning with soft, slow piano-led number Peace Of Mind, the band then bleed the track into arguably their biggest, most bombastic statement, Hurt Me. Kaloper's crossover drumming comes alive, smoke begins to billow from all corners of the stage and Mary reaches into the crowd, dangled by security like a ceremonial sacrifice. It's triumphant, pagan-like and a fittingly climatic end to an evening full of such pinnacles.

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