Sunday, July 4, 2010
Hearts a flutter warmed and soothed
My review of Ernest Ellis w/ The Tourist & The Sleepyhands @ OAF
as appeared on the exciting cultural guide that is Word On the Street
Supported by The Sleepyhands and The Tourist
Thursday 1 June 2010 8pm
Oxford Art Factory, 38-46 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney
On the chilly evening that was Thursday the 1st of July, not one, but three bands brought a heart-warming energy to Sydney’s cool underground indie venue the Oxford Art Factory. Amongst the smoky darkness, all three acts burst out with sounds to inspire, and ignite on a cold winter night. First up of the support acts was ‘The Tourist’, a collective of three inner west youths playing melodious indie folk. The two males commanded their strings and their enchanting female harnessed the magic of synthesizers and egg shakers to create sounds inspired by the likes of Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes in songs such as ‘My little eye’. I myself also felt some Radiohead vibes in their haunting, melancholic arrangements such as ‘Antarctica’. The lead vocalist Dan was honoured to get a comparison to one of his favourite bands of all time.
‘The Sleepyhands’, the second support act of the night emerged from the smoke as a large but dynamic collective of seven Sydney voices. The sounds influenced and assisted by one of the cream of the new Modular crop, Johnathan Boulet, the Sleepyhands hooked in the curious audience with beautifully crafted songs such as ‘The Autumn March’, heavenly harmonies in ‘Cross your fingers’, and bouncy happy-go lucky ditties. Altogether the enthusiasm and talent of this bunch of bright young things lit up the room, which in size and mood provided a fascinating contrast to the small support band that played previously, and the headliner to come.
Whilst enjoying the peculiar perfection of The Sleepyhands I found pleasure in sipping on a similarly unusual but wonderful winter cocktail. Slowly savouring the delightful drink known as the Hot Toddy, a concoction of scotch, hot water, ginger, lemon and cloves, conjured comfortable feelings of cozy, lounge room chilling with lemongrass & ginger tea by a warm fire. Definitely an accompaniment just right for relaxed tunes in the coldest week on record.
The show headlined by Ernest Ellis was arranged to launch their debut album ‘Hunting’, but it didn’t quite launch. It catapulted! Opening with their rockier numbers such as the alluring ‘Pulse’ the melodramatic three-piece band from the Blue Mountains had the excited audience eating out of their hand. It was tough not to be blown away by the magic of Ernest’s rare solo performance ‘Valley Song’, a lovely strumming folk number that had the audience swaying and imaginations soaring far away to green pastures dappled with golden sunlight. The popular tracks that launched Ernest Ellis into the public eye didn’t fail to disappoint, with the ethereal, easy listening sounds of ‘Heading for the cold’ and sheer epicness of ‘Loveless’. The encore set the band soaring with the audience roaring…onto the stage! Ernest’s earnest invitation that the crowd join him on stage to dance out the final song the catchy ‘Want for Anything’, was initially met with restrained desire, which later turned to growing enthusiasm. However, attempts were halted by security, only to be successful when the sheer number of excited fans climbed over the front of the stage and danced amongst the band members. I was one of those too eager to remain grounded, and instead hauled myself onstage to join the dancing celebration of spectacular music. That finale felt like a giant warm hug, an unforgettable moment that just made my heart explode! With the band booked in to play at this years highly anticipated Splendour in the Grass festival in August, it seems Ernest Ellis will continue to generate a magnetic pull of listeners to their marvelous music.
I leave you with a little bit of music to marvel at from these musos
The Tourist (click the link to listen)
The Sleepyhands (click the link to hit up their myspace for my joy)