Updated: Nov 15, 2020
Brisbane's newest West End haunt The Westroom (formerly The Loft above the infamous Archive bar) hosted a sold out official launch of their 'Best Served Loud' gig series courtesy of Young Henrys and 4ZZZ - and what a show it was. Clea & friends treated us with a night to remember.
We could just fall into the full expansiveness of Clea's exquisite vocal harmonies and would be lost to the world forever.
The warm summer night ushered us up the stairs where we were met with a snazzily decorated venue (sculpted candles, bookshelves and all) with the coldest aircon in living memory (definitely a plus). Headed over to our candlelit tables, we couldn't help but have bittersweet feelings for the rather bougie seated events that have dominated the iso era; this might be the last time before dancing is (un)outlawed next week in Queensland.
The night opened with JUNE, a rather imposing six-piece spread featuring the ever-welcome alt-instruments wielded by Yam Vohland (saxophone) and Claudia Vogel (violin/keys). Yet if you haven't listened to their music you'd be misled by the quasi-jazz-band facade. The band serve up juicy psychedelia thats delectably sun baked with a beachy glaze - JUNE are like if someone got the Jensens to give King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard a bunch of pineapples, a surfboard and to tell them to chill out for a bit - where King Gizz rule over the microtonal caliphate, JUNE take us on a scenic journey with those dunes in view, but nestled in a picturesque distance.
A few more drinks and L. Flora flew in with the breeze - and what a cool breeze it was. Overseen by Millie Khalu's velvety vocals, the band lathered up the room with the smoothest of neo-soul concoctions. Think Hiatus Kaiyote meets Pink Matter. Everything goes right for this band - with Kahlu's soaring Alicia Keys-esque embellishments, the twinkling keys in 'Bigger It Gets', the silky clean guitar riffs, the tightly syncopated drums - the whole package scratches an itch that you didn't know you had.
A wave of punters were brought in with Byron Bay favourites Seaside. The band never disappoint - helmed by Darcy Dexter's sultry but sweet vocals buoyed by shimmering guitars and the zesty dream-pop performance we've come to expect - Seaside's infectious music, summery presence and Darcy's on-and-off penchant for hats are always a welcome sight at any gig. The band have become really at home on the stage with excellent chemistry and an absolutely ace balance between the dulcet and the daring.
Clea ("say it like clay" as her instagram bio suggests) with a full band is a sight and sound to behold as she often performed more stripped back sets in tandem with Zeferelli's Alistair Richardson. A sight - because her animated performance and total immersion into the world of her music is art in itself - one of those moments where we wish we had brought a camera or maybe an easel. A sound - because her vocals are both surreal and sublime. We could just fall into the full expansiveness of the exquisite vocal harmonies and would be lost to the world forever.
Clea can do no wrong, performing track after track of sombre yet saccharine gold - with a catchy little mini-cover sprinkled in between (head along to a show to hopefully find out). Whether it's an intimate acoustic set or this more anthemic arrangement Clea's performances always have an indelible charm that cannot be washed away.
Although some of the delicateness of the band's music was lost to the venue's rather bass drenched, table shaking soundscape a friend quickly reminded us that the gig series was called 'Best Served Loud' after all. To wit we have no rebuttal.
Overall a rather successful night in a worthy new venue which bodes quite well for The Westroom's sure to be storied future.