HAIR! Hair everywhere – a pop-punk filled night at The Deaf Institute was kicked off with Jules Vera and first impressions were that you had to have hair at least down to your shoulders to be in this band. As the five-piece found their places in front of the northern audience, they looked a little cramped and slightly awkward on the small stage. However, this awkwardness soon ironed out as the band got playing songs from their album Friendly Enemies. Singer Ansley Newman mixed things up with the company of a ukulele for two songs throughout the set and her vocals were truly enchanting for the bands duration. Although every member played an important part successfully, multi-instrumentalist Jake Roland was clearly a highlight. His display of innovative guitar work, solos and riffs were simply excellent and really elevated Jule Vera to their full potential.
The band displayed diversity with an instrumental including great use of a floor tom drum as Ansley passed a smaller drum across the front row to hold while she played it. This was greeted with their biggest reaction of the night and was followed by a beautiful performance of Scarlet Letter, which consisted of a charming duet showing off stunning vocals and accompanying keyboard from Jake. One thing that was unfortunately lacking was stage chemistry between entire band, it wasn’t awful but it was by no means matched up to the standard of the music they were producing.
With Confidence were up next and they unquestionably lived up to their name. Bracing the stage pumped up and ready to go, showing Jule Vera how it should be done, they had the crowd in the palm of their hand from the off. Having half the crowd who were clearly fans of the band already on side, With Confidence set off on persuading the other half to join them. Their performance had elements that were reminiscent of mid-90s pop punk, which worked really well with their modern edge to create a unique sound for the genre. It was obvious the guys were having the time of their lives on stage and this fun spilled through to their interaction with the crowd.
It was guitarist Luke Rockets birthday and a pizza with candles on was brought out as both band and audience sang ‘happy birthday’ to him. This was a pinnacle moment as the whole place seemed to be at ease after this and everyone was having fun. Stand out songs in the set were Higher and Godzilla not because they were performed any better than the other songs but because there was just something about them. The crowd fed off this, creating an unforgettable atmosphere around the room. They were a perfect pop-punk band complete with crowd banter, catchy songs and mosh pits. With Confidence kindly brought the Sydney sunshine to their music and happily shared it with everyone there.
As It Is opened up to a packed out venue with Speak Soft and it was the ideal choice to invigorate the crowd as well as the band. First impressions were, sadly, somewhat disappointing as sound levels were off. Thankfully after the first few songs – which included some older tunes that dedicated fans loved – everything was sorted and Patty Walter’s adored vocals could be heard properly. The band played all the fan favorites and they practically burst off the stage with conviction. Patty summed up the audience’s reaction, “When you guys jump, it feels like this stage is about to break down. So let’s see if we can make that happen.” They inevitably obliged, however fortunately the stage remained intact.
The chemistry between every single guy on the stage was brilliant, anyone expecting to see ‘The Patty Walters Show’ was mistaken. It was fantastic to hear a smoother side to Ben Foley’s vocals at appropriate times during the set. Seeing the renowned dynamic of Ben’s grittier vocals against Patty’s more pop sound coming to life on stage was a remarkable experience. Although Patty’s vocals were a little higher pitched than their recorded tracks, he was still a pleasure to listen to and the rest of the band played their parts near perfect to their album.
The band are notorious for their passion and energy on stage and this gig was no different, nevertheless things slowed down toward the end. Everyone apart from Patty exited the stage while he gave a heart-felt speech about how much their fans mean to the band he then continued to talk about his personal struggles he has gone through mentally and offered advice to anyone going through something similar. This was aptly shadowed by an acoustic performance of My Oceans Were Lakes. This performance was like watching Patty’s journey from being a solo artist on Youtube to being in this successful band personified on stage. It was a spine-tingling experience. As It Is effectively put on the show that every fan wanted to see.