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GIG REVIEW: Spacey Jane + I Know Leopard + Teenage Dads @ The Fortitude Music Hall – 19/08/2022

By August 20, 2022January 11th, 2024No Comments

Words by Kate Lockyer {Kate Lockyer Music}

All photos by Elizabeth Sharpe // IG : @ummagummamumma

Full gallery HERE

*** Please always credit our photographers when sharing their work on social media – do not edit their images, and ask permission first before using their images for any other purposes. ***

Last night the Fortitude Music Hall was illuminated by the performance of Spacey Jane, not to mention their phenomenal openers I Know Leopard and Teenage Dads.

Teenage Dads kicked off the show with mischievous panache, delivering high energy indie pop to the energetic audience. The band is made up of Jordan on vocals/synth/guitar, Connor on guitar, Angus on bass and Vincent on drums. Their latest release called Teddy is boisterous. As Angus the bassist bops along, Jordan beckons to the audience, and serves cheeky side to side hip movements while calling to the audience “One more time!”. They finish with a wholesome coordinated fist-pump.

Piano Girl begins with twangy guitar strums and a sweeping drumbeat. I see this song as calling to pub rock ghosts of Australian past with its soaring vocals, especially in the chorus as the vocalist sings, ever more desperately, “Wait for me piano girl”. For me, this is the tune that best shows off their songwriting chops and Jordan’s warm vocals.

Cheerleader started with a slapper of an intro, a high tempo instrumental solo with a lively, buzzy riff on guitar that had everyone clapping along. The full force of energy in the performance is perhaps a reflection of the song’s lyrics, referencing the speed of change. 

The band pauses their set of originals for a more nostalgic interlude – you’d never guess what. Nothing other than a groovy cover of the Postman Pat theme song, of all things. The resurgence of the Wiggles has no doubt given us young adults an appetite for childhood nostalgia, because the crowd ate it up, singing along, all in on the fun. 

At the outset of their most popular song, Sunburnt, Jordan yells out to “Wiggle your hips!”. The live version of this tune is more visceral than the gentler, sepia-toned recording of the song. A perfect mix of defiance in the face of heartbreak, Sunburnt is relatable and comforting – “I got through the summer days without you / And I will carry on just fine”. Part way through the song, Jordan, having followed his own advice about the hip-wiggling, adds a little ass waggling in his wranglers.In Come on Cowboy. Fire Your Gun! the band draws us in with an infectious bass riff, and finishes their set strong with the fun onomatopoeia of a good old-fashioned spaghetti Western shootout, singing “Click click click / Fire away / Bang bang”. Referencing the trope of musos taking their guitar off at the end of their set as they continue playing, Jordan picks up his keyboard and circles it around him as he finishes.

With synthy soundscapes echoing Tame Impala, I Know Leopard draws us in with their quirky style and playful yet vulnerable lyrics in their synth-based art-pop. The band is formed of Luke on vocals/keyboards, Rosie on bass/keyboards, Jennifer on violin/keyboards, and Todd on drums. 

Kicking off with a violin solo in Landmine, they segue into a drumbeat ticking away, and Luke sighs into the microphone, “Oh I can’t even look at you / Without the burn that turns my insides black and blue”. The rueful tune features steady bass driving through the song and mournful violin as the vocalist sings “Didn’t you know? / Lalalala love is a landmine”

Their second song, Heather is an education in self-respect wrapped in a delectable package of sassy vocals and twinkling synth. Definitely my favourite of their songs, I was excited to hear this one and they certainly delivered, asserting “Heather, you can call me when you get your shit together / I hope it’s not the way you’ll be forever / You can’t just play your games with me forever” with effortless cool as they groove along onstage. A bang of drums leads into a spirited guitar solo near the end. 

For Rather Be Lonely, brushes of synth and upbeat drums set the tone, and Luke croons my favourite lyrics of the night, “In the mystic of your mind”. The impassioned chorus has him sing “I would rather be lonely again / I would rather be lonely again than with you” and it is followed by a silvery synth darting around, sounding slightly like a steel drum. Duetting synth and violin feature towards the end of the song, the violin high pitched and haunting. The frontman invites the audience to sing along with him, and by the second round we’ve got the hang of it and are shouting back to them.

They pause for a bit of banter, calling out to Teen Dads that they were grateful for the hairstyle inspiration – frontman Jordan had been sporting pigtails in his shoulder length hair, and bassist Rosie from I Know Leopard had a similar look. Who wore it better? I couldn’t say. 

They kick back in with Lover Automatic, one of their more recent releases. Buzzy synth jets out between lyrics in the chorus, and we see a (slightly, but not entirely) less cynical and sweeter side to their songwriting, with lyrics like “Don’t tell me what’s wrong / I already know / I’ll be your lover automatic / And I can be whatever you want / At whatever the cost”. Violin caresses the song and tambourines clink away, the drummer using it as his stick as he hits the high hat.

With lit up red led keyboards and smoke pouring over the stage, the band certainly knows how to add a little drama to their set up. A kind of walking bass on synth begins the next song, and Seventy Lies is, in fact, very seventies. Celestial synths and a somewhat chromatic keyboard solo makes for a very groovy tune. It’s followed by jangling bell-like synth in Day 2 Day, a wistful tune that has sincere falsetto vocals, clacking tambourines, and violin that arcs over the song as it crescendos.

Nothing is Real is a quiet admission that things are slipping out from under them, singing “I don’t know what I feel anymore / I think I need someone to tell me / All the things that I used to adore”. While the song builds in intensity, part way through the dynamic changes, and Luke drops to the lower octave, cradling the mic stand and whispering to us. Gradually sizzling drums on the high hat bring up the energy, and at “It’s a new kind of  high” the backing vocals ramp up, going up in key while the drums crescendo. At the end Luke softly croons “We’ll keep talking / These sweet nothings” as the song fades out. The final tune has hands waving across the audience, a slow song, wistful harmonies blending. I Know Leopard leaves us feeling sentimental as they walk off stage. 

Say what you will about Spacey Jane, you can’t deny that they give an energetic live performance. With the energy of athletes and the exuberance of people doing what they love, they give their all to the stage. Spacey is made up of Caleb on vocals/guitar, Ash on guitar, Peppa on bass, and Kieran on drums.

With the voices of the crowd immediately deafening as the first song begins, their fans have clearly been listening to the new album. Sitting Up, the first track off ‘Here Comes Everybody’, is classic Spacey, combining heartbreak with confessional lyrics and guitar riffs that get under your skin in the best possible way. A tremble in Caleb’s voice sells his emotional connection to the song, while further into the song Ash begins his guitar-playing acrobatics bucking around the stage. The lights go down for the bridge, and then pale-yellow shines out through blue light like sunrise while the electric guitar trickles in. 

Their second song is probably my favourite of theirs, Skin. I just love the imagery – “Deep blue / Eyes like water fillin’ up”, or “If you’re looking for redemption / Then it’s breathing underneath your skin” combined with a chronically singable chorus that captures the swirl of emotions that you can feel. Peppa spins a circle as she plays, and the band is clearly reveling in the atmosphere of the room. 

The next tune is high energy, and the whole band bops along for Lunchtime. It’s easy to sing along with, and the audience is jumping around, having serious fun. This song contrasts with the next, Bothers Me, where Caleb pulls out his acoustic and the lights go from black to red. Kieran seems engrossed with his drums as the band lowers the hectic pace, but not the intensity. 

Weightless sees Peppa running across stage, crashing instrumental and Caleb singing, passionately, “And I’m sorry, darling, the words don’t hold their weight / No, they drop well short and slowly fade to grey”. The band are all in their own orbits, absorbing each other’s energy. 

While the band takes a moment to breathe and take a sip of water, Kieran tells us “Ash and I made the unfortunate decision to go to Rics bar across the road on Wednesday…” (the audience roars, shamelessly), “Booster Seat came on at fuckin 2am, you best bet we sang the shit out of it”.

The next song, Pulling Through, creates a slightly different sound for the band, with whimsy whistles interspersing the gentle harmonies of Caleb and Peppa. The lyrics almost bring me to tears, with their embrace of someone who is struggling, “But I hope you know that I love you, no matter what you’re going through / When it feels sometimes like the waiting is the worst that we can do”. Mental health seems to be a recurring theme in the lyrics of Spacey Jane’s songs, which is maybe why so many of their fans are, well, super fans. They’re a band that is brutally honest in their lyrics, though they do know how to have fun nonetheless. 

“This is called Yet”. The stage goes black, then purple flashes illuminate the band. In the background, a house and powerline is silhouetted on the screen, as the band sings another song full of raw emotion, testifying to the power of friendship – “You’re like sunshine in the winter”. Caleb switches out his acoustic for the electric again, and as soon as the first note is played there are screams. Feeding the Family, a Spacey staple, sees them strutting across stage, Ash throwing his hair around in an electrifying performance.  

Then, another classic. Thrills has everyone well and truly amped up. Everyone nails the timing of the iconic “Whoo!” at the beginning of the song, and Caleb pulls off a nonchalant presence, hands behind back, swaying along. Towards end Peppa is stomping her feet, arms out, then she takes to the very edge of the stage at the end. The crowd drinks the moment in, the song absolutely exaltant. 

It’s Been a Long Day no doubt captures the experience of many young adults, and the performance is hymnal, feeling almost sacred. “It’s been a long day and I don’t feel like talking / I feel like crying and eating something cold / What will I do tomorrow? / A little unhappy and severely underpaid”… Yep, we’ve all felt like this at some point. 

“This one’s for singin’ along”, they say, and launch into Booster Seat. Probably the most beloved of all for most Spacey fans (though personally I’ll still stick to Skin), the song is THE anthem of heartbreak for the band. I tell you what, Spacey fans are seriously devoted. After Caleb paused to wipe the sweat off his brow with a cloth and the end of the song, I heard the girls next to me pondering “I wonder how much that sweat rag would sell for”. Yep, seriously devoted. 

Hardlight begins with ambient synth and wandering arpeggios on guitar as they’re lit up in blue. I have to say something about Spacey’s dress sense. You may not agree with me, but I’ve seen photos of my dad in Western Australian mines from the 80s, and the singlets are endemic. So I want to describe their style as 80s tradie garb. Caleb has his typical tight white singlet and Peppa has on super-cool patchwork overalls. They’re quirky, uniquely Aussie, and according to the ardent fans I’ve overheard, very attractive.

Good For You has flashing red lights, jumping band members, and strums instantly recognised. In the course of what I must again call Ash’s acrobatics, he loses his guitar strap, and no sooner is it reattatched that he’s jumped up onto the drum platform to play alongside Kieran. The song demands it – fast paced, defiant, there’s a reason it’s so popular. The encore has the band skipping back on stage – seriously, skipping. They play an electrifying Headcold, Caleb and Ash sitting together at one point in the instrumental solo to play to each other, while Kieran chucks his hat into the crowd, and Caleb kneels to the crowd before bursting into a final chorus. They finish on Lots of Nothing, pink and blue and purple lights flashing over them as they put a final explosion of energy into the set, with white confetti exploding around us, a magical moment falling into the crowd as the band finishes.

Follow Spacey Jane HERE!

Follow I Know Leopard HERE!

Follow Teenage Dads HERE!

Thanks to Positive Feedback

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