Photo Credit: Tashi Hall Photography | @tashihall
Saturday the 27th of June saw a very special moment for a lot of us in the Perth music scene, the return of proper gigs! Playing to a sold-out Rosemount Hotel, ELWYN had all you could ask for in a final gig. With support from Freehand, BĖXX and Planet Juna there was more than enough energy to help get everybody filling the dancefloor for the first time in quite a while
Starting us out for the night was the enigmatic Planet Juna, with her unique approach to performance, mixing in elements of spoken word, slam poetry, rapping and singing all over the top of a wide range of industrial-inspired electronic beats. Ranging from some slow and sparse apocalyptic vibes to some more upbeat and sparkly tunes, Planet Juana keeps you on your feet when listening, with an almost combative voice at times, raising issues with her lyrics to force you to think. A unique performer within the Perth scene, Julie Nguyen’s project is upfront and pushing on the boundaries of musical performance.
Up next on the night were soul fusion outfit Freehand. Lead singer-songwriter Gem Addison had the audience enchanted from the second she started singing, with bewitching alto tones that demanded your attention. Nobody can deny that Freehand are a band with range, going from low tempo jazz numbers to more upbeat soul/funk fusion numbers that are impossible to sit still to. Shoutout to some truly impressive work on the keys by Ethan Walters and as is essential in any funk/soul band, Freehands' rhythm section were on point, keeping a tight groove throughout making it easy to dance along to. Well worth the price of admission, keep an eye out for Freehand on local line-ups, they are definitely a band worth your time.
Bringing up the energy for the third act was our local spice queen BĖXX. Her unique blend of house/ 90’s electro-pop originals had everybody moving and the dancefloor absolutely packed. It’s obvious from having a listen that BĖXX has been putting in work over this enforced COVID-19 break, all of her tracks have a much higher level of polish and her production has taken another leap forward. High energy from start to finish, BĖXX mixed in some absolute bangers and songs that are sure to become dancefloor anthems for an overall very spicy set. Do yourself a favour if you feel like working up a sweat on the dance floor and make sure you catch BĖXX at her next performance.
Lastly was the bittersweet moment of having ELWYN’s last set in Perth before she moves to Melbourne. Showing us exactly why her farewell show sold-out ELWYN took to the stage like she was born to it, with an incredible presence on stage and quintessential front woman vibes. The neo-soul/jazz/pop tunes of her set blend extremely well with ELWYN powerful and incredible vocals, ELWYN has a very wide vocal range and she uses it all masterfully to put on an amazing show. Her band alongside her were incredibly tight and well-practiced, with an honestly impressive feel for the music, which could be felt in the strong groove and interplay of the rhythm section. There were some lovely moments during the set, including getting some crowd members up on stage to sing along to one of the songs. You could feel the fun that everybody in the room was having and it was a wonderful celebration of both music and of ELWYN.
We wish ELWYN the best of luck over in Melbourne and hope she knows she will be sorely missed here in Perth.
Reviewer - Gerard Kinsella