Geelong band The Evening Cast launched the start of their national Questions Tour tonight in Melbourne and charmed the crowd with an intimate set. They were supported by The Garden Partyand The Darjeelings in the small Grace Darling band room.
Having never been to the Grace Darling before, I had no idea what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised by a lovely intimate band room on the top floor. The stage sat in the corner of the cosy room fit for no more than 100 people with a couple of couches and a staircase that had the room resembling that of a lounge room.
The first support act of the evening was The Garden Party, who delighted the crowd with their pleasant indie pop numbers. With the crowd in good spirits, next up were the lovely four ladies of The Darjeelings that enchanted us with their beautiful harmonies. The sweet vocals of both Mairead O’Connor and Greer Clemens transported us back to the 1920’s. Their songs danced around jazz and blues of the good old days but added a modern twist that also incorporated their appreciation of modern day pop including a transition into Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” and doing a cute cover ofGwen Stefani’s “The Sweet Escape”. But do not mistake these girls to be a cover band. They are truly original and have a lot of talent. These girls may be young but they ooze confidence on stage and demonstrate a real love for the music they create.
As five-piece The Evening Cast took to the stage, you could sense their nerves and excitement for the start of their national tour, but the nerves quickly dwindled as they settled into their delightful set. Lead singer Joel Cooper, had real stage presence about him, throwing himself into each song as well as engaging the crowd with plenty of enjoyable onstage banter. Joel’s brother Paul Cooper played on guitar, while Joel’s wife Rachel Cooper played the keys and added her soft vocals creating pleasant harmonies with Joel. At the back, was Rod Grinter adding the backbone of their sound on drums andAsh Trickery on bass.
They played a gorgeous set of well structured pop songs that had a folky influence that gave their set an earthiness and crispness I hadn’t experienced before. While the songs across their set had a consistent sound, they demonstrated true craftsmanship, with their intricacies and multiple layers that added variety.
New song “Hallucinate” was a funky number while an older song “Factory” and a personal favourite of mine, was slower and rockier in nature. But it was “Water” that left me and everyone in the room speechless. Joel introduced the song as being about overcoming challenging events that had recently happened to him personally. As they played, I imagined myself sitting on my lounge room floor, watching the vinyl spin on the turntable and simply weeping.
Of course being in pubic though, I held back the emotion but it was clear the song had touched everyone as their was no sound or movement from a single soul in that room. When the song ended, the band took a moment to regroup and then launched into livelier and faster-paced songs, as if celebrating the trauma that was and moving on to big and better things. They finished their set on a high with their catchy and fun new single “Questions”, that had the crowd swaying and singing along.
The Evening Cast are truly coming into their own and are an absolute joy to watch live. They are a talented group who clearly work well together and truly love the art of creating music. Although brothers Joel and Paul are the creative leaders of the group, it was clear tonight they are united force to be reckon with. Despite playing a small venue with an intimate crowd, there was a lot of love in that room that will spread like wildfire.
The band continue on their tour around the country. The dates are here:
Friday 20th June – Yours & Owls, Wollongong
Saturday 21st June – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Friday 27th June – The Brewery, Byron Bay
Saturday 28th June Ric’s Bar, Brisbane
Saturday 12th July – The Grace Emily, Adelaide
First published on the Au Review – www.theaureview.com