Bachelorette - Wednesday October 19, Toff In Town
The Melbourne festival can be an intimidating money drain at times, though it's always worth seeking out the smaller gigs that spring up around this time but with considerably less fanfare. Rat vs Possum may be the support for tonight's show at the Toff in Town, but their party-time set doesn't waste time with a slow build-up. Their live shows are always spectacular and often superior to their recorded material, and tonight is no exception. The band seem to morph slightly each time they play live, edging away from their tribal, experimental beginnings to a more focused, song-based sound, with Daphne Shum now clearly at the forefront as lead vocalist. A new track sees them push this progression even further - the trick will be to keep the balance right and retain the improvised feel of their 'old' self (an odd conundrum for such a new band). But, for now, they're firing on all cylinders and hitting all targets.
It's a less assured start for New Zealand's Bachelorette, with the Toff curtains being pulled back to reveal a performer looking a little alarmed at her equipment and the noises they're making: "What is that sound? Does anyone know what that sound is? This didn't happen in the sound check!" The last time I saw Annabel Alpers, a few years back at the East Brunswick Club, she was having similar problems, but it seems almost fitting that someone who writes about mechanical men, digital brains and technology boys has weird technical glitches bleed their way into the performance. It's a little distracting at first, but is preferably to watching a Ladytron clone icily press buttons without a hint of humanity.
Gremlins aside, it's a slick show with some skillful looping, dreamy harmonies and nicely judged visuals. Alpers offers up a good chunk of her latest Bachelorette album, plus a handful of highlights from 2009's My Electric Family. Whether this is the last we hear of Bachelorette/Alpers is still a little ambiguous. As per the last album, Not Entertainment is the final song and bids us adieu with the lyrics "For the last time goodbye", but the lulling Sugarbug sneaks in as an encore, bar the artifice of leaving and returning to the stage. So, then, this is farewell....perhaps.
LOVED: A great venue for an appealing double act.
HATED: I wish there had been a bigger crowd.
DRANK: Warm night = pints of cold Boags.