Project Description

The Clouds

+ The Falling Joys

Metropolis Fremantle

10/11/17 (Live Review)

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The Clouds – photo by Jarrod Henry

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It’s been far too long between drinks for former touring partners The Clouds and The Falling Joys. Where once the two bands – from Sydney and Canberra respectively – clocked up gig after  gig after gig during the heady days of Australian indie rock it was almost like they were swept aside in the changing face of musical tastes. A criminal act too, as they represented what was once fresh and highly original about the music being released at the time.

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So when both groups announced that they’d be mounting an Australia wide tour once more the chance to see both bands was just too good to pass up, and those who piled in to Metropolis Fremantle were as keen as I to relive those magical days again.

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After a short set from local lads The Verge Collection, the stage was bathed in blue as Suzie Higgie and co strode onto the stage, tuned up and launched straight into Shot In Europe, the opening track from their debut album Wish List. What was instantly apparent was that The Falling Joys were still supreme purveyors of jangly, indie rock capped off by the sultry vocals of Higgie. They were in absolutely fantastic form, obviously relishing being back on stage playing together again and the crowd loved hearing those classic songs again. “This one’s about my favourite person in the world” Higgie informed the crowd before picking out the jangly intro to Jennifer, and the band surprised all a couple of songs later by airing a new one Can’t Take Em Back, showing that the creative spark is still present. A slew of familiar tunes followed with Incinerator leading into Parachute and a cameo appearance by Andrea Croft (The Catherine Wheel) and Matt De La Hunty (Tall Tales and True) lent a truly nostalgic air to proceedings. Finishing off with a glorious trio of Lock It, You’re In A Mess and Black Bandages, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one there who was left thinking “My god the Aussie music scene needs The Falling Joys right now!” Brilliant.

How the hell The Clouds were going to top that was anybody’s guess, and yet as the quartet smashed into the stuttering intro to Here Now from their final album Futura the answer was plain and clear; big bold melodies, time changes that twist and turn at a moments notice, and most of all those harmonies! With Jodi Phillis and Trish Young flanking either side of the stage and Dave Easton taking centre stage, pulling out those distinctive angular riffs, this was definitely still the sound of a band at their peak.

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The Clouds – photo by Jarrod Henry

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Continuing on with Wednesday Night and Foxes Wedding from Penny Century, all the elements that made The Clouds such a killer live band were on show, and in spades. The hilarious stage banter between the two women is as razor sharp as it was 20 years ago, and even drummer Raph Whittingham piped in on occasion with a few one liners and an obligatory bass player joke. But all talk aside, it’s still about the SONGS. The dirty sex rock of Bower Of Bliss was as provocatively grungey as ever, Aquamarine was greeted like an old friend returning home after many years, and new songs Check Us Out, Beautiful Nothingness and Mabels Bookshop sat perfectly alongside older material.

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Finishing off the main set with Heironymous and Say It, they could almost have left it there, but instead after repeated calls for more they returned to encore with Ooh and a phenomenal Ghost Of Love Returned. The latter, with Phillis amid a wash of blue light, was absolutely magnificent, dramatic, heart wrenchingly beautiful. This was a truly joyous trip back to the past for all those who witnessed these bands, a trip back to simpler times before life, children, work and the daily ever present responsibilities of adulthood became a reality. And whilst, for those diehard Clouds fans, there were a few omissions from the set (4pm would have been one of my choices) both bands put on a display that showed what is sorely lacking in music today.

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AMNPLIFY – DB

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