Preaching to the Converted

preatures_postGig Review: The Preatures

Northcote Social Club, Friday 13th September 2013

If there’s one song this year that’s had me sashaying across the lounge room, it’s The Preatures, Is This How You Feel? The smooth, retro vibes first came floating from my television, seducing my eardrums late one evening (or was it early one morning?) in mid-2013, jolting me from my semi-comatose state on the couch and causing me to take note of the band producing these pleasing auditory advances.

After checking out the band online, I was disappointed, but somewhat surprised to discover they had already sold out their sole Melbourne show during an east-coast tour in June. How had these guys slipped under my radar? As it turns out, at that stage they had only released one EP (2012’s Shaking Hands). So, sell out shows based on one EP and one feel-good hit? I definitely had to check out what all the hype was about. I was justifiably excited to see that less than 3 months later, they were undertaking a more extensive national tour to launch their new EP, Is This How You Feel?,  this time playing one of my favourite venues, the Northcote Social Club. Their first show sold out in a matter of days and they went on to sell out another two shows at this establishment.

I always love the crowd that the Northcote Social Club attracts and tonight was no exception- a wonderful blend of hirsute men and indie chicks unafraid to brandish their individuality. They were out in force with only thing on their minds- The Preatures!

The headliner’s set kicked off with their latest release- the 70’s-funk invoking, Manic Baby, setting a slow-simmering pace which the Melbourne crowd  happily shoulder-shimmied to. As the set list progressed, the songs increased in tempo and the infectious energy of the band’s lead members leeched into the audience, encouraging them to push the boundaries of the infamous Melbourne shuffle.

The 5-piece Sydney outfit’s unusual lineup incorporating two lead singers delivers a perfect symbiosis of masculinity and sweet, sunshine-laden soul. Gideon Bensen channels an uncanny blend of David Bowie and Kings of Leon frontman, Caleb Followill. It’s a voice that I could close my eyes and listen to endlessly. Isabella Manfredi’s dynamic and intoxicating voice offers a throw-back to the powerful female vocalists of the 80s such as Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde. It’s the voice I think I hear when I perform my daily shower set list. Along with the other band members, they delivered an hour-long set that left me on a high, but also feeling a little like Oliver Twist…. “Please Sir, can I have some more?” Apart from the the tour’s namesake track which was always going to be a winner, crowd favourites included the Motown-inspired  Take a Card, and the encore performance- a sultry remix of an older release, Pale Rider.

I’m delighted that I got to see the band in such an intimate venue as I have no doubt they are making a B-line to bigger and better things. They have a sound that is just not replicated in present day musical circles. Take it from me, if you get a chance to catch The Preatures, jump at it- you won’t be disappointed.

The Preatures’ debut album is due for release in 2014. You can download three of their tracks for free from the Triple j unearthed website (http://www.triplejunearthed.com.au/ThePreatures), but if you want their latest tunes, get out there and purchase their recent EP and show your support for quality Oz music.

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preatures_gig2 Images courtesy of Faster Louder website

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