Live Review: The Waifs, Davey Craddock & The Spectacles

27 January 2016 | 11:38 am | Lukas Murphy

"Sisters Vikki Thorn and Donna Simpson complemented each other immaculately throughout the night — their voices so similar yet so distinctly separate..."

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With a line that stretched down the road and around the corner, Fremantle Arts Centre saw a full house tonight, as The Waifs played to an incredibly receptive crowd on a fine Sunday night. Against a backdrop of orange and pink clouds and the Fremantle port shipping cranes, punters couldn't have asked for a better location. 

Davey Craddock & The Spectacles performed first, greeting the crowed warmly: "Good evening, Fremantle," Craddock said. "You're here early! It's hard to find a park in Freo, I know..." Craddock proceeded to play a set full of deeply reflective songs — well thought out and well constructed, covering everything from the fat blokes that play cricket near his house, to heartache and sorrow, optimism and amusement. Bex Chilcott of Ruby Boots accompanied Craddock on stage for a guest appearance, bringing him a beer for his efforts (what a pal!) and lending her wonderful vocals to Love Hurts made famous by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. It was fitting that Craddock's soul ballad, There Will Be Light, was sung just as the sun set over Fremantle. The band finished on Craddock's recent single, Girls Light Fires.

The Waifs took to the stage just a little after 8pm — after the sun had set and everyone had well and truly tucked into their dinners and grog. Picnic rugs and cheese platters were cast aside as those up the front began to dance. The band made a cheeky comment about the more nimble and youthful members of the audience being up the front, but this reviewer can attest to the vitality and exuberance of those further back — particularly said reviewer's Year 8 Japanese teacher (nice dance moves, Ms Marshall).

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Sisters Vikki Thorn and Donna Simpson complemented each other immaculately throughout the night — their voices so similar yet so distinctly separate from one another, the harmonies jumping right out of the mix. The third core member of the group, guitarist Josh Cunningham, held his own as well — never outshining the sisters, yet never being pushed aside either. Cunningham's solos were abundant and thoroughly impressive. Approaching 25 years together, the band has showed no sign of slowing down, and with a performance like Sunday's, Fremantle should be proud to have at least one of the members as a local. Simpson seems to be rather happy about living in the "City of Cock-bum".