Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Jezabels at the Hordern Pavilion, 9 June 2012

You know what I love about concerts? Once you have listened to a band live, nobody can take it away from you. It is stored in your acoustic memory. And every time you listen to their music - at home, in the car or in the supermarket (if that's the kind of music you are into) - you can tap into that memory and add layers, visual details and so much emotion to the songs that it will change the way you experience them forever.

I go and see the Jezabels by myself, which is an interesting experience in itself. Before I had children, in that distant past I remember vaguely, I used to have these solitary outings quite regularly. And it actually feels nice getting into the car, putting on the Jezabels, singing along and driving into the night.

After the support acts, Lights and Snakadaktal (how's that for a band name?), there is a long break where I have time to study the audience around me. The first thing that strikes me is how young they are and then that almost everyone is clutching an iPhone and is either typing frantically or just gazing at it. I wonder if this is the modern equivalent of the archaic and almost universally outlawed ritual of holding a cigarette; something that occupies your hands and makes you look busy.

The lights are finally dimmed, and the Jezabels make an impressive entrance preceded by an ominous guitar riff and a strong bassline that makes my skin tingle. They launch into Endless summer, one of the more upbeat songs of their album Prisoner. Singer Hayley Mary is an intense stage presence, with raven hair that hides her face and a very tight, catwoman-style black outfit. Next is Easy to Love and Long Highway, songs that both show off the singer's strong voice that ranges from low and smoky to high-pitched wailing.

Mid-concert Mary gives an endearing little talk about how she is probably supposed to say something now but that she is actually quite nervous. She says that they are living a crazy dream and thanks us for sharing it with her. That sends the crowd into another frenzy of shouted We love you's and Oh my God's. The girl next to me exclaims several times during the concert how this is, like totally, her song.

The Jezabels are one of the rare bands that sound life even better, as their songs are perfectly suited for the drama of smoke wafting off the stage and an amazing lightshow. Their sound is dark, moody and quite theatrical, all the things I like in music. Maybe I'm not that old after all...

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