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Live Review: The Preatures, The Creases @ The Met 19.09.15

The Preatures had the odds stacked against them for their Brisbane show at infamous club dungeon The Met, but fortunately their incredible live stamina and rapidly growing catalogue of catchy neo 70s, soul inspired tunes was enough to make up for the downsides of the night.

Most of these problems derived from the burden of running an all ages affair and the bizarre venue of choice, with The Met being well-known amongst Brisbane music lovers as the antithesis of a good night out; no beer on tap, too many confusing, unnecessary levels and the home of mediocre club beats. Most of the club was sectioned off for the night, leading to a host of statistical problems, most irritating of which was a lack of toilet facilities. In the lead up to The Preatures’ set a massive line had built up on the stairway leading to the women’s toilets and of course, the toilets clogged up pretty quickly. Although the venue was licensed, no alcohol was allowed anywhere near the stage or at any vantage point where you could actually see the band. All of the adults who wanted to enjoy a drink and watch the set were therefore forced to battle for a spot on the second level of the venue, which filled up quickly. Everybody was given a wristband at the beginning of the night that signalled whether you were under or over eighteen, so there was really no need to ban alcohol from the floor in terms of protecting the young from alcohol consumption. Apart from these issues, the gig started at a criminally early seven pm, which meant that a lot of people missed sets by of two Brisbane’s finest up and coming bands The Furrs and The Creases.

Photo: Bianca Holderness

For this very reason I was unable to make The Furrs’ set, but I am certain it would stand up well against all of the other times I have seen them, which have all been fantastic. The Creases’ presented their latest line-up on the night, which has fleshed out considerably since the initial two-piece that were Joe Agius and Jarrod Mahon. They’ve now added keyboardist Luke Pallier to the line-up, and I have to say, The Creases sounded better than ever. Rather than adding unnecessary padding to the final product, the new line-up only rendered their sound more full-bodied and polished. While some of the songs sounded a little redundant, there was a definite glimpse of excellent song-writing abilities in new tunes like Point and closing set number Static Lines. Both songs far exceeded the quality of the hit that put them on the map and landed them a short-lived deal with Rough Trade - I Won’t Wait. While the song was played to an enthusiastic reception from punters, it was simply more proof that The Creases have truly grown up from their garage roots and that the song no longer really fits into their set. The Creases’ improvements in their stage presence and musical abilities were also demonstrated with a lighthearted cover of David Bowie's Let’s Dance, which sounded great with a lush, dream-pop take on it. Even though the band have been ambushed with success and media attention over the last year, it’s great to see they haven't lost their sense of humour.

Photo: Bianca Holderness

As I had expected, The Preatures’ sounded far more dynamic and raw in the live arena, an immense improvement on what I admittedly felt was an over-polished debut album, Blue Planet Eyes. They opened with Somebody’s Talking, which, while being a nice way to get the crowd amped, felt like one of the weaker songs of their set; a little too predicable, although undeniably catchy. The best part of the track was a short-lived Krautrock-reminiscent instrumental section that would have been so much better if it was extended for another minute or two. Rock n Roll Rave was a nice change of pace and particularly applicable to the situation at The Met, which had quite literally developed into a mirror of the song’s title. The Preatures seamlessly spliced together early disco grooves with classic rock n roll guitar licks, as you would expect from the title of the song. A little more space would have been appreciated to fully take advantage of the dancey vibe of the tune, as the nearly sold-out gig had afforded some occupancy issues, with people cramming together like sardines and blocking all exits (seemed like a bit of a fire hazard at the time).

The wistful, low-key ballad Two-tone Melody nicely broke up the pace after another high-energy hit with Manic Baby, both of which were beautifully delivered by the band’s powerhouse front-woman Isabella Manfredi in totally different ways. Enough reviewers have sung Manfredi’s praise ad notum, so I’ll refrain from repeating the same commentary here. All that needs to be said is that Manfredi was well and truly on point. The other band members also deserve credit for their professional and polished playing, along with Gideon Benson’s occasional vocal offerings, which have been notably toned down since the band - or should we say Isabella Manfredi – rose to prominence with Is This How You Feel? Of course, they played their hit song with the energy it deserved and the crowd reciprocated. Manfredi teased - “Are you ready to dance?” – but it felt a bit like non sequitur considering that’s all the audience had been doing since the band took the stage.

Photo: Bianca Holderness

The rest of the set went through most of the material from Blue Planet Eyes, along with a cover of Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? by the Angels, which has become a regular and somewhat predictable staple of their sets. The Preatures went out with a bang with a much appreciated encore that included their latest tune Cruel and their first single Take a Card. Cruel was a fun-loving, neo-soul track that successfully inspired a rambunctious crowd response, while Take a Card remained one of The Preatures’ finest tunes, with an excellent organ solo and the combined magic of Manfredi and Benson’s vocals. The set finished on a highly positive note, striking the perfect balance of everything that make The Preatures great.

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