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Live Review: The Waifs, Mia Dyson @ The Triffid, 14.10.15

After Wednesday night’s show at the Triffid, I have come to the very informed decision, that The Waifs are in fact magic *alakazam*

I don’t know how quite else to describe the experience that was the first show on their ‘Beautiful You’ tour. Magic seems like the only fitting word. If you have been living under a rock for almost 25 years, you might need and tan and you probably haven’t heard of The Waifs, they are pretty amazing. They formed in 1992 by sisters Vikki Thorn (Guitar, Harmonica, Mandolin, Vocals, and Songwriter) and Donna Simpson (Guitar, Vocals and Songwriter) with Josh Cunningham (Guitar, Vocals, Banjo and Songwriter). They’ve collected double platinum records, four Aria Awards and three top 50 singles, London Still, Bridal Train and Sun Dirt Water. They’ve also founded an independent label Jarrah Records which they co-own with fellow muso John Butler.

Walking into The Triffid a huge crowd was already milling around the beer garden and well stocked merch stand. And this was when I first realised there was a magical power from The Waifs, because their fans were just so nice. Two people asked me how long I’d been a fan for; beaming about the past shows they’d travelled to see them all across Australia.

Kicking off the night was the wonderful Mia Dyson who dazzled with her soulful songs and amazing, bluesy voice. The room was packed from the get go and Mia hand them in the palm of her hand, even though it was just her and he guitar only tiny murmurs broke out during. The two acts were the perfect mix, I think everyone agreed.

Two thirds of The Waifs and their band walked out to start show and with only one line sung the sold out crowd was totally silence and in awe. ‘Geez, you lot quieten down quickly!’ Vikki Thorn said to the crowd after the first verse. But the quiet didn’t last long, Donna Simpson, the missing third joined them on stage for the second song. I’ve never seen a crowd of such varying ages belt out a song so well, ‘I’m in London Still’ sang by 400 people is pretty amazing. And oddly in really great pitch.

The next sing-a-long came around quick, with even louder more intensely emotional singing. ’All the girls around Australia, married to a yankee sailor. The fare is paid across the sea, to the home of the brave and the land of the free, from west to east the young girls came, all aboard the bridal train. It was a farewell crossing of her land, she’s gone to meet her sailor man’ rang out through the room, almost drowning out Vikki on some occasions. I had found myself in the coolest choir ever.

The guys switched instruments throwing in mandolin, banjo, guitar, harmonica, upright bass and tambourine for good measure. The band also did a special throwback to their early days as a three piece playing their early hits and letting their perfect harmonies do the talking. Treating fans to songs from one of their earliest releases, with Take It In and Shiny Apple, from the 1998 release ‘The Waifs’.

Before launching back into it all with their full band the sisters shared an impromptu song about love after beginning to announce their next love song, ‘Love is like a T-bone steak, sometimes is tough and hard to take. Sometimes it’s tender and it’s rare, love is like a T-bone yeah. Love is like a Marlbaro red, one ends hot and the other’s wet, makes you gasp for air, love is like a Marlbaro yeah’ in perfect harmony, it was amazing.

Then their hit Lighthouse turned the passionate choir into what felt like a honky-tonk in New Orleans. The singing voices were still louder than ever but the non-PG dance moves came out, from all ages.

So magic, that is the word I’m using. Magic.  That I stood in a crowd of over 400 people whose ages ranged from early 20s to early 50s. Magic.  That this crowd of many sang along to almost every song. Magic. That when this wonderful choir wasn’t belting out 25 years of hits, they would listen intently to every word the band had to say about the new album and the songs. If you have never experienced this special kind of magic then I highly encourage you to go get their new album ‘Beautiful You’ and while you’re at it you might as well buy their entire back catalogue because you obviously aren’t living right. 

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