Words by Natalie Blacklock.
Photos by Luke Sangiogio
Full gallery – HERE
Alex Lahey’s ‘The Best of Luck Club’ album release tour, presented by Handsome Tours and Triple J, rolled into Brisbane for one night only. Lahey first came to the attention of Triple J listeners in early 2016 with You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me, produced by Brisbane-based Holy Holy guitarist, Oscar Dawson. Since then, Alex Lahey has toured extensively in the USA, UK and here at home with headline shows across Australia as well as support slots for the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Paul Kelly. On her second record, ‘The Best of Luck Club’, which navigates through some key issues of ‘adulting’ in the 21st Century; self-doubt, burn out, break-ups, breakdowns and mental health, Lahey showcases her sharp and thought-provoking song writing, through her propensity for taking the minute details of her personal life and flipping it into her own unique brand of anthemic pop-punk.
As soon as doors opened to one of Brisbane’s best live music venues, The Tivoli, a steady stream of both young and old(ish) punters made their way to the front, ready to check out one of Australia’s most popular female singer-songwriters of the last few years, backed up by strong female and female-led support acts.
Kicking off proceedings were local Brisbane two-piece, Catalano. Ruby McGregor and Izzy Mellor have been constant faces in the scene for the best part of the last decade, with both playing in acts including Babaganoüj, Go Violets Jeremy Neale, Love Signs, Shifting Sands and Velociraptor. On the back of releasing their first single, Others, in February this year, Catalano are moving from strength to strength, now with a handful of local shows under their belt. With McGregor on guitar and Mellor on bass, Catalano quickly gained the attention of the respectfully silent audience as they opened with Others. The more upbeat Lucy and Boys That I Hate showcases their co-lead vocal prowess, offering a distinctively dream-pop vibe. Their set closed with the as yet unreleased Superstar – a stand out of their set. The lyric-heavy track dedicated to “anyone who’s ever been to Fortitude Valley’s Beat Megaclub”, touched on pastimes of late night drinking and smoking on fire escapes, as well as more serious national issues like the Royal Commission into the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and the declining health of the Great Barrier Reef. Catalano have definitely left the eager crowd with something to think about with this track, which they are planning to release on an EP next year.
Next off the bat were Pop-Punk outfit Stand Atlantic, who had the crowd more than a little excited. Influenced by an eclectic mix of musical heroes including; Blink 182, The Story So Far, The 1975 and Silverchair, the Sydney 3-piece (touring as a 4-piece) have grown in popularity since their formation in 2014. Following an extensive USA / UK / EU tour in support of their debut album, ‘Skinny Dipping’, Stand Atlantic are back for a quick sojourn before heading out on the road again for the Sad Summer Festival run in the USA and the legendary Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK in July and August. Right from the outset, frontwoman Bonnie Fraser’s energy is almost contagious as she bounds around the legendary stage of The Tivoli. Opening with Bullfrog, it did not take Fraser long to find her way off the stage and onto the barrier as she hooked the crowd in. Skinny Dipping, Speak Slow and older cut Chemicals get the crowd off their feet as guitarist David Potter showed off his take on Yngwie Malmesteen’s ‘Whirligig’ and a good measure of punk jumps. Fraser asked the crowd to light up the room with their phones, exclaiming “it looks pretty, I swear” as they bounded into Lost My Cool. The set closed with a 1-2 punch of Coffee at Midnight and Lavender Bones – definitely giving the crowd a solid warm-up for the headline act.
The excitement and anticipation for the headliner, Alex Lahey, road-testing cuts from her new album ‘The Best of Luck Club’ as well as some ‘OG’ crowd favourites steadily grew. As the stage lights went down, the room filled with the familiar strains of Queensland’s ‘unofficial’ anthem My Happiness by local legends, Powderfinger. Alex Lahey and her band; Richard Bradbeer (Bass), Jess Ellwood (Drums), Matthew Jennings (Guitar) and Clio Renner (Keyboard) triumphantly emerged through the door of ‘The Best of Luck Club’ thanks to projections and installations from album cover artist, Melbournian Callum Preston, and proceeded to join in with the impassioned crowd singalong. The set opened with new album cuts I Don’t Get Invited To Parties Anymore and Am I Doing It Right. Lahey told the audience of her love for Brisbane, as it was one of the first places that really got behind her music. She reminisced about the first venue she played up here, Trainspotters near Central Station (RIP) and was blown away to now be playing an iconic venue like The Tivoli.
Midway through the set, Lahey paid homage to 90s Australian pop through her breathtaking cover of Bachelor Girl’s classic Buses and Trains, which was followed up by the emotive Unspoken History played on acoustic guitar and keyboard. As the band smashed through the last few songs, You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me got the crowd screaming along, Misery Guts drew big Courtney Barnett-esque vibes as Lahey ended up shredding her guitar on her knees in true rock fashion and Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself saw her demonstrate her multi-instrumental skills on the saxophone. Through the raucous applause, Lahey exclaimed that “In true Brisbane fashion, we’re not gonna fuck you around and pretend to go off the stage, we’re just gonna do this. Consider this your encore!” before ripping into Every Day’s The Weekend and I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself from her first record ‘I Love You Like A Brother’. As the band left the stage, the crowd lingered catching the final moments as Alex Lahey stopped, waved and blew kisses to the adoring crowd. There were many empowered, excited, positive and happy faces leaving The Tivoli last night – a sentiment echoed by Alex Lahey and her band throughout their set.
Be sure to catch Alex Lahey on the remaining three dates of her ‘The Best of Luck Club’ tour. For dates, locations, and ticket information click HERE.
Friday 14 June – The Basement | Canberra (18+)
Saturday 15 June – Metro Theatre | Sydney (Lic. AA)
Saturday 22 June – The Forum | Melbourne (18+)