Lost Animal @ Phoenix Public House
Having won the title of Beat’s Album of the Year in 2011, Aussie Jarrod Quarrell is touring Ex Tropical and clearly having a lot of oddly nonchalant fun while doing so. On this particular night, he was celebrating the vinyl release of the album with an all-too-rare headline show. The Phoenix Public House was packed out with fans and other notable industry luminaries (Paul Kelly’s dimples were hanging at the bar) to see the box-jawed guy do his stuff.
Opening with Don’t Litter, Quarrell took the opportunity to point our attention to Shags Chamberlain on bass, whose chops perfectly fit the song’s minor thirds and Drive-like (in the '80s noir sense) ambiance.
Say No To Thugs delivered a weirdly sexual but sentimental schmaltz. Quarrell was initially only in charge of vocals here but still had total command over the track. He then leapt onto an organ and in the ensuing frenzy, ended up looking and sounding like a Frenchman artfully losing his cool.
Quarrell’s vocals are strong but not stronger than most; he’s deep on the pitch register but not deeper than most; it's the fact that his presence truly permeates things which makes him stand out as a charismatic figure and an accomplished musician (despite the fact he doesn’t really look like a frontman).
The peculiar, laid-back, extremely hot, tropicana soup continued as the crowd tried its best to dance while smooshed in against one another. A brilliant and eerie sound like skeletons playing on marimbas rolled over the audience as the percussionist in the red beanie shook maracas and what appeared to be two gym weights – the auxiliary instruments really took this show to another level. Underneath the coconut island vibe of Ex Tropical is something far more deep and dark, and it was communicated in a totally compelling way in the live mode.
BY ZOË RADAS
Photo credit: Cassandra Kiely
LOVED: The crowd – everyone was stoked to be there.
HATED: Knowing it’ll shortly be curtains for this awesome venue.
DRANK: Tequila shots.