Live Review: The Preatures, Abbe May

18 February 2019 | 2:55 pm | Shannon Pearce

“Tonight is less about the schtick and more about the songs."

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While the city was rather quiet on Sunday night, Chevron Gardens was still bustling with activity. It was the perfect setting for The Preatures show, with the stage set against the Perth skyline. Support act Abbe May strolled on stage, wearing sparkly boots and a massive white hat. She was extremely relaxed, chatting away to the audience and cracking several jokes in between songs. May has a powerful and unique voice that is certainly not meant to be confined to a recording studio. While the crowd were not quite as invested in her own music, her cover of Ginuwine’s ‘90s hit Pony piqued their interest. Simple, sexy and soulful, she may not have had you up and dancing but she definitely had you tapping your feet. Despite the fact she was cut short due to lack of time, May delivered a truly stunning performance.

The Preatures came on not too long after the conclusion of May’s set, opening with the title track of their second album, Girlhood. This was followed by two singles from their debut album, the ever-popular, irresistibly catchy Somebody’s Talking and the upbeat, enlivening Cruel. For those who may have seen The Preatures before, this performance was a relatively pleasing variation from their norm. The four-piece chose to focus on their music as opposed to their performance, evident with the entire band taking a seat after they came on stage. Frontwoman Izzi Manfredi warned the audience at the beginning that this show was going to be a little different. “Tonight is less about the schtick and more about the songs,” she said.

Manfredi herself is an indescribable stage presence. She is like some sort of ‘80s rock icon, comparable to Divinyl’s Chrissy Amphlett. You can’t help but be absolutely entranced by her, clinging on to every word she says and everything she does. During her performance, she spoke a lot of the struggles she’s faced as a woman, many of which have played a role in the production of their album Girlhood. In the Me Too age, Manfredi is everything you could hope for from a leading woman. 

The band’s stripped-back performance truly showcased Manfredi’s incredible vocals, especially with her solo rendition of the intensely moving Your Fan. As a consequence of the more low-key performance however, the setlist was predominantly slow ballads. Half of the audience seemed to be dozing off towards the end of the show and many just up and left. For a band who has their fair share of energetic and lively tracks, they didn’t play very many of them. More variation in the setlist was probably needed if they wanted to maintain the audience’s attention for the duration of the show. 

The band rounded off their performance with their 2014 hit Is This How You Feel?. It was undoubtedly the song that most people in the crowd had been eagerly anticipating. Feeling reinvigorated, everyone was up and dancing one more time before the show came to a close. While their setlist may not have been perfect, their closing song could not have been better.