At the last minute on Wednesday afternoon I found myself with an invite to see Ali Barter at The Gasometer and, given that I had to give up my Laneway ticket due to injury, I jumped at the chance to try and get back some of what I missed out on.

As I made my way into the bandroom, I was surprised to see Davey Lane sitting at a keyboard, but he quickly switched over to a 12 string. Lane’s new songs were dripping with a garage psych influence that I swear was never evident before; I didn’t feel as though it were a bandwagon situation though as the new tunes felt more passionate (and infinitely fresher) than the older song he played next which was a bit of the Davey Lane I’m used to, straight up rock’n’roll. A funk inspired track saw Davey show off the shredding abilities he honed over the years in You Am I; while a cover of Under Pressure fully demonstrated his vocal range as he masterfully imitated both David and Freddy’s parts. Although he didn’t quite hit that super high note, the vibe of the cover was so good that the crowd and I forgave him instantly. Finally, Lane had an “Elton John moment” as he sat back at the piano to close out his set with “You’re The Cops, I’m The Crime” from his debut solo EP.

After a break, a beer and a long chat with a dear friend who I’d run into unexpectedly, Ali Barter’s band take the stage and start building some atmosphere ahead of her opening track, ‘Blood’ from 2015’s brilliant AB-EP. Instantly the crowd were enraptured as Barter made her way through the set, playing a few with the band before switching to solo mode briefly. She plays ‘Community’ alone, the presentation itself an accompanying metaphor for the desires in the lyrics. It’s something she’s been doing for a while and it’s lovely, but when Barter’s band rejoined her for ‘Hypercolour’ I realised how much impact they have on her performance. With the backing of the full band, Barter seems more relaxed, confident and apparently free to really let her vocals fly.

While the vulnerability of her solo songs was a treat in itself, her ferocity fronting the band was a consistent highlight of the show that was sadly missing when she was unaided. It’s also wonderful to see her band working together as a unit; Oscar Dawson’s guitars are note perfect even when he truly lets loose and Yuko Nishiyama’s contributions on keys and vocals have become vital since she joined the band last year. As always, Ali Barter herself shines, proving that she is one of the premiere artists in Melbourne’s sprawling scene. Any time she plays you should definitely be getting yourself along because it is guaranteed to be a great show.

Wes Fahey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.