The Jezabels at the Button Factory – Review and Photos
On the back of the release of their second album The Brink, Australian quartet The Jezabels took to the stage on Sunday, March 2nd, for the second of two nights in The Button Factory. It was a gig that took its time to get going but as the night wore on there were some real high points, particularly in the latter half of the short set.
Opening with Psychotherapy, frontwoman Hayley Mary had an early opportunity to show off her impressive octave-surfing vocals over the mid-tempo, atmospheric keys of Heather Shannon, ably assisted by the solid drumming of Nik Kaloper and the simple yet effective licks of guitarist Samuel Lockwood. While Hayley Mary, clad all in black, with flowing sleeves and deep red lipstick completing the new age goth look, is an engaging frontwoman, it’s Shannon’s keys that knit the sound of this band together. One cannot help but be impressed by the awesome sound she produces which makes you forget at times that there’s no bass player on stage.
With the notable exception of third song Endless Summer, which drew a predictably rapturous reception from the crowd, the first half of the set passed by in a mostly forgettable blur. Hayley Mary’s jerky, almost reluctant dancing reflected the lethargy of the band as a whole but this all changed when she appealed for the crowd to dance before Look of Love and the whole atmosphere inside the building moved up several notches from that point in the show.
As the crowd began to clap along to Look of Love the room seemed to come alive and the band fed off that energy to deliver a lively Beat to Beat which was followed by the soaring and dramatic Mace Spray which was easily the best song of the night. Maybe it had taken the Sunday revellers a couple of recovery pints to shake off the Saturday night cobwebs or maybe it had just taken The Jezabels a little while to find their groove on the night but once they found that groove things improved considerably.
It’s a shame it had taken half of the set to get to this point but there was still time for one more major crowd pleasing moment in recent single The End. The crowd responded with gusto to this tune and it segued nicely into set closer Dark Storm. The band re-emerged for the single song encore of Easy to Love, delivering a gentle come down from the liveliness that had preceded it, and bringing the night full circle back to its low key openings.
And that was it; all done within an hour, and while there were undoubtedly some high points, you can’t help but feel that there is still a great deal of untapped potential in his band. It was by no means a bad gig and yet it left a nagging feeling that it could have been so much more than just a ‘good’ gig.
Then again, isn’t it the trick of all the best entertainers to leave the crowd craving more?
Review by Mark O’Brien
Photos by Jamie Tanner