Live Review: Glades + Balu Brigada + LA Women – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (24.11.18)

Following the heavily anticipated drop of their new album (which was our recent Album of the Week), alt-pop trio Glades kicked off their five-show tour in Melbourne on Saturday night and left none of us disappointed. The band, formed in Sydney, released To Love You earlier this month and The Corner Hotel in Richmond was the perfect intimate setting to showcase it for the first time. Joined first by two New Zealand-born acts, Balu Brigada and LA Women, who were both losing their Australian performance virginity that evening, a stimulating night of live music was undoubtedly in the making.

The bar for the night was set impressively high with indie hip-pop band, Balu Brigada. Consisting of three brothers and one best pal, the four piece delivered a contagious performance that was impossible for anyone not to get their teeth stuck into. A delicious combination of soulful singing, conversational rapping, memorable lyrics and hip hop beats created the ultimate feel good atmosphere required to successfully kickstart any gig. Toss in a couple of jazzy printed shirts and a spoonful of brotherly banter, the boys proved to be a recipe of undeniable success.

During ‘Nightshift’ lead singer, Henry Beasley, successfully encouraged the audience to jump with him on the final chorus, an act which should have been difficult to pull off so early in the evening. They rounded off their high energy set with the catchiest track of all ‘Could You Not’, by which time not just loved ones of the band were dancing, but everyone else in the crowd too.

Although Balu Brigada proved a tough act to follow, LA Women definitely held their own as the second band on stage for the night. The trio slowed things down with their smooth R&B beats, yearning vocals and distorted guitar solos. With a sultry style reminiscent of The Weeknd, their performance was certainly well received by an expanding audience as more people trickled into the venue.

They played their new single ‘Don’t Call Me Back’ to a deeply involved crowd of swaying arms, beers in hand. Lyrics suggestive of nights out, drinking and breakups saw the audience slow two-stepping along to every song… likely considering either dancing with a stranger, or fighting that irrepressible urge to drunk text an ex they should definitely be avoiding. Smartphones rose high at arms length for the band’s biggest hit, ‘Hurricane Love’ when more lips mimed along than not and the excitement for the night’s headliner continued to swell.

As soon as the curtains rose for Glades set, the eager crowd surged forward to applaud the entrance of multi-instrumentalist band members, Cam Robertson and Joey Wenceslao. The room wholeheartedly erupted however, for the arrival of lead singer, Karina Wykes, the first and only female musician on stage for the night.

Opening with ‘Nervous Energy’, an appropriately upbeat and popular track, the impressive light show and now heaving venue transformed into a performance that appeared fit for an arena. Continuing with songs including ‘Speechless’ and ‘Not About You’, all three musicians performed with a captivating stage presence, appearing immediately humbled by the audiences knowledge of lyrics and general enthusiasm towards their music.

Switching up the tone of set, the trio slowed things down by playing a stripped back version of ‘Keep It From You’. Dropping the drums and synths for just keys and bass, Wykes received an opportunity to demonstrate the power and refined control behind her compelling vocals. Easing promptly into another tender number, ‘Through To You’, she continued to radiate a genuine vulnerability to the room which even left one or two audience members noticeably dabbing the lids of their dampened eyes.

Earlier this week, Glades hit the triple j studio for a Like A Version session to record a cover of the Aussie classic, ‘Straight Lines’ by Silverchair. Proving to be an evident milestone in the band’s career, they performed for us the same cover of the song. Expectedly, it felt immensely special to hear it live and share with them their excitement of the recent event.

Emotions ran high during ‘Drive’, before the band closed the night with the crowd’s favourite track ‘Do Right’, through which Wykes’ vocals were almost completely drowned out by an audience that was singing louder than her. The entire room appeared so lost in the song that even the once stationary stragglers leaning against the bar at the back perked up for one final boogie.

Given the audiences desperate pleas for an encore, just ‘ONE MORE SONG’, the nights antics are utterly deserving of 4*.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Glades new album To Love You is out now. The band continue their tour around the country with the below dates. For more details, check out the band’s Facebook page.

Fri 30 Nov – Jack Rabbit Slim’s – Perth, WA

Sat 1 Dec – Jive – Adelaide, SA

Sat 6 Dec – Metro Theatre – Sydney NSW

Fri 7 Dec – Woolly Mammoth – Fortitude Valley, QLD

 

Ruby Robinson

London-born pom who has found temporary residence in Melbourne. Gig, travel & rum enthusiast.