Our fellow music loving friends over at Pilerats celebrated eight laps around the sun with a birthday bash at Jack Rabbit Slims; the invitation list included a wealth of WA indie rock boppers including Lo, Tether, Coterie, Dulcie and some naughty late night DJ’s.
I’ll admit I haven’t attended Jack Rabbit Slims (a reference to the diner from Pulp Fiction) since I was a fresh faced 18 year old breaking into the fantastical new world of clubbing, but the stylised venue with its ambient pastel lowlights and impressive drink range had the same flavour of murky groove that I recalled from my misbegotten youth - three years feels like an eternity ago.
One noteworthy new facet however was the palpable passion of my fellow club goers – whenever someone had a spare minute between singing their heart out and dancing their socks off - I was informed of their entire journey as a fan of one the artists with little provocation. Coterie and Dulcie had an especially dedicated fan base, with some telling me they had been following the bands since their very inception and one particularly devoted pair proudly proclaiming they had driven quite a distance up from Bunbury to see Coterie tonight.
We caught Lo (aka Lauren O’Hara, aka Flossy) and her freshly minted backing band, enrapturing the crowd with the deep, trawling bass lines and shimmery aura of tracks 'Fiction' and 'Floating'. Lo and friends opened the night wonderfully, her charming combination of silky soothing voice donning an oversized lilac blazer warming up the audience to a gentle simmer.
Next up was Tether, a Perth based rock trio with an alternative, feminine edge and unorthodox but genuine charm. Their flashing lightning backdrop combined with a vibrant drumming introduction grabbed the room by the throat – fortunately our attention was warranted. Dark thrumming energy ebbed through the room, spiralling grittily from the synth rock tune of 'Empty Spaces' and early 2000’s reminiscent angst anthem 'The Knife'.
Having entered the venue with little clue who Coterie was, it is safe to say I left Jack Rabbits reformed. Commentators often compare brothers Tyler, Joshua, Brandford and Conrad (fka The Fisher Boys from their X-factor days) to the soulful likes of Matt Corby and Gang of Youths - but these boys are no imitators. Though Coterie undoubtedly have the expressive charisma and soaring vocals of indie heavyweights, they bring a certain ineffable quality that is uniquely their own.
As soon as they strolled onto the stage, the already respectably busy floor thickened with the bulk of their loyal fans who roared with excitement at the opening chords of an untitled, unreleased track and likely the anticipation of seeing the not-too-shabby looking band of brothers. A rousing performance of their debut single 'When We Began' was met with enthusiasm from all sides - a sorrowful tale of talking a friend down from the edge after a breakup set to a backdrop of indie pop synth.
A personal highlight of the night was when the four boys jumped into the crowd with their guitars and tambourines, stood in a close circle facing each other and performed an exquisite acoustic rendition of their song ‘Stepping Stones’. Standing intimately in the throng of their fans, harmonising beautifully, Coterie, named after the word meaning a group of close friends with similar interests, seem to have created just that. In other words, very f*cking wholesome stuff.
A lovely cover of Tears for Fears 1985 hit 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World' was added to the mix, so we could rage against the machine in style. Though the bulk of Coterie's catalogue is in unreleased music with only a few tracks on Spotify, fans sang the yet to be released words of 'Frankly Dear' and closing number 'West Coast Drive' in unison without missing a single rumbling beat.
Headlining the whole shebang was the indie quartet of darling nymphs that is Dulcie. Ash, Saskia, Timieka and Madison have taken the WA music scene by storm since their formation in 2018 and the riotous reaction to their set at Jack Rabbits was an absolute testament to their ear worming tendencies.
Tremulous soaring vocals added to the swelling vibrancy of opening tracks 'Safe and Sound', ‘Euphoria’ and ‘The Shore’ and the girls dancing around stage in their colourful pop-princess-on-a-budget outfits with the stage presence of a band triple their vintage added similar things to the atmosphere. One sign you’ve got a bit too much talent in one band is when almost all members are the lead vocalists – alternating between Saskia, Ash and Timieka for lead every song adds something exciting as well as opportunity for complex and layered harmonies– something they take full advantage of.
Like Coterie, Dulcie only have a few songs officially released, yet I found out quite quickly that if I missed the name of one of their still underground tracks, I could turn to literally anyone in the crowd and they would gladly provide the name, lyrics and first born child of said song; veritable bangers ‘Small Fish’, ‘Level Head’ and ultra new, also unreleased song ‘Dust’ were three of these.
The excitement of the audience as the girls strummed those airy opening chords of ‘Own Ground’ was rivalled only by that of the band themselves; though the clarity of their vocals shone through the fluttery graceful harmonies, Dulcie were making the stage vibrate with their energy. It's very gratifying to see a band enjoy performing as much as their fans do watching it.
Closing the set was Dulcie’s debut single ‘Fall’, the song that flew around Perth like wildfire in 2019. The stunning drive of interwoven melodies and vibrato that crash into a tumbling fiery chorus made this track the perfect end to an impressive night of music. Pilerats brand of in house Dj’s provided a top end effort to follow up the acts before them. And with that we can be sure that Pilerats will jot down an ever-growing list of successes - here's to 10 years.