Live Review: The Tea Party

16 October 2014 | 4:42 pm | Jennifer Sando

Martin was ever smooth, ever cool and rather fascinatingly, his hair stayed in place at The Tea Party show in Adelaide.

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Surprisingly, The Tea Party’s show at Thebarton was a seated gig, but fans were already standing well into The LOC, which is the first track off the band’s new album and the catalyst for their Australian tour – The Ocean At The End.

Frontman Jeff Martin, dressed half rock‘n’roller and half country singer, is an emphatic and seasoned performer. His hands were moving about while he sang like he was trapped in the body of an Italian. “Tell my lover to come back to me,” he convinced us in The Bazaar

The introduction of Fire In The Head was met with sheer delight as Martin began take two of audience hypnosis. Red lighting beamed behind and above, and crossed over into the crowd. Lullaby saw Martin go into crooning mode. His voice has been compared to Jim Morrison but tonight he sounded more like himself – a far better compliment. The chorus of the melancholic Water’s On Fire hit the audience deeply and that was soon paired with Release, which crowd started to sing along to, as if part of a mantra. As Martin called out – “I want you to be free from me” – it soothed us, right up until the moment he changed guitars. That meant only one thing: serious business. Sure enough, Jeff Martin rocked that shit out – fans stood up in respect to salute the guitar that took the reigns.

“Do you want some more?!” Martin called out to the ecstatic crowd, before obliging and letting Temptation be the answer to his question. “Adelaide, I’ve lost control, I don’t know what to do!” he sang. It was such an incredibly full sound for a three-piece band – there could have been an orchestra hiding behind the backdrop. The crowd were loving this band and loving life, and The Tea Party gave us their thanks as they left the stage.

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With the crowd buzzing for an encore, Martin made his presence back on stage known with a brief but reverberating guitar solo. Another one of those sexy-as-hell grooves kicked in which sounded like an intro for a wanted dead or alive cowboy flick. There was a musical humming emanating from the stage while Martin’s guitar continued to play its fabulous part, and you could feel that this melodic synchronicity was uniting The Tea Party crowd.

Martin was ever smooth, ever cool and rather fascinatingly, his hair stayed in place – he entertained like he wasn’t breaking a single sweat. “Come on, Adelaide,” he called out to us again, “I want to hear you scream!” It’s a great feeling when musicians remember exactly where they are and make us believe they’re so happy being right there at that very moment. We got to take that sweet feeling home with us – thanks to a captain who crooned his heart out and ultimately rocked our little Thebbie boat.