HEAPS GOOD FRIENDS
@ Jack Rabbit Slim’s
Reviewer: Vicky Hebbs
Jack Rabbit Slim’s is almost empty when ABACAXUVA play, and it’s a shame because their percussion-heavy set is a rhythmical journey that deserves a bigger audience. If only it weren’t almost two hours until the main act, more people would be here to discover something very different to the next two bands.
Local band Kopano take the stage next. They catch the attention of those milling around the fringes of the venue with singer Jemma’s lingering vocals, which are particularly uplifting on Malfunctions. Announcing she will now be appearing alone as Kopano, minus the band who are parting ways, they proceed to finish with a blisteringly good song that perfectly blends vocals and instruments – I am still kicking myself because I don’t know what it is called.
After waiting to Triple J tunes, The Spice Girls “Wannabe” heralds Heaps Good Friends’ arrival onstage. Self-described as “peanut-brittle pop with text message lyrics,” the tunes to come are every bit as bubbly and crowd-pleasing as I had hoped.
Sometimes their lyrics are downright absurd, like “I’m scared of you, like online dating, spiders had a baby,” confusing words from Online Shopping Trolley. Its all part of the fun, though, and they certainly know how to have a good time. Heaps Good Friends are probably the happiest band I have ever seen live. Guitarist Nick does not stop smiling the entire concert. I am not at all exaggerating; there are perhaps two moments in the entire gig I don’t see him grinning from ear to ear.
Heartfelt Lobster Bits is about baring your soul to only those who deserve you. This song and Online Shopping Trolley feel a teensy bit slower both in tempo and emotion than their other songs, yet still make you want to bounce around just as much as their other music.
Olympic Sneakers and its catchy “Run, run run” refrain are gleefully anticipated, as is the utterly exhilarating I Could Eat a Full Packet of Yoyos. They briefly clarify Yoyos are what most Perthites would call melting moments, before launching into a short but hectic song that leaves you wondering how many tempo changes a song can have and still sound this awesome.
Lead singer Emma has a singing voice that is uniquely airy but never strays into sounding whiny, even on long drawn out phrases like, “I’m pretty they tell me, I’m pretty, then why’d you go away?” Olympic Sneakers especially sounds so much better thanks to her obvious Australian accent – who doesn’t a singer that embraces their accent?
I find it hard to believe Heaps Good Friends were discovered on Triple J Unearthed just a year ago. I saw them once previously supporting the Jungle Giants on their 2017 tour, but their new EP ‘Hug Me’ has taken them to new heights. It honestly is incredible how well they’ve progressed in this amount of time, from support band to their own tour so quickly, but they deserve every success they’ve achieved.
As weird as this might sound, I cannot talk about their concert without pointing out just how cult-like some of Heaps Good Friends’ fans are. Clad in loose orange t-shirts bearing the band name, they are at times absolutely ecstatic to be here, a number having travelled six hours from Kalgoorlie to Perth. The band have certain quirky hand movements all three of them do in sync, to which the crowd reply in kind. It seems a little strange at first, but connects the stage and audience to form one big mess of good vibes.
Lastly, they play Let’s Hug Longer and ask the crowd to embrace one another. It’s a simple song that opens their EP and has all the hallmarks of a great pop song – in fact, it was Triple J’s ninth most-played song in 2017. The panting sound effects and rhythm remind me of San Cisco’s ‘RUN’, an equally feel-good song.
With the genuine warmth they extend to showering on their fans, its no wonder Heaps Good Friends are doing so well right now. Being at their concert feels like being amongst friends.
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