For a concert to be something exceptional, it has to have more than just smashing music. It needs to have it all: a venue suited to the genre and masterful crowd interaction always ensure a performance is far more than the sum of its parts. Did this performance reach those dizzying highs, the creamy middles? Absolutely.
The thatched windows and uncomfortable chairs of The Odd Fellow were coupled with snazzy strobe lighting for a surreal assault on the senses. When support act B.R. Dalton took to the stage, it didn’t feel like I was in Perth anymore, but some kind of bizarre twilight zone. Resembling something of a Victorian farmer, I was mesmerised by his stage presence as his rough voice was accompanied by sombre melodies etched by his guitar. His voice soared throughout the small venue, his deeply personal performance revolving around homesickness. This gave a pleasant (if melancholy) teaser of what to expect from the main act.
Originally from Germany and hailing from Melbourne, Amistat was formed by brothers Josef and Jan Prasil. The duo effortlessly combined their luscious locks with lush harmonies in their performance to promote their debut album, Parley. The chilled vibe that permeated the air resonated not just from the layered guitar work, but also from Jan’s bare feet. This gave the feeling that we weren’t seeing strangers perform, but rather watching old friends weave their intricate web of melody across a soaring soundscape.
Their performance began with the low, prolonged thrum of a keyboard, commandeered by Jan. A brief burst of vocals surged forth from the brothers, quickly quelled when Josef was accused of being off-key. This barbed wit between the two was a thoroughly entertaining side-act to the music, and allowed the audience to relax and remain engaged. The duo’s vocals complemented each other well, with their soaring, driving guitar rhythms presenting a dark counterpoint to the almost angelic timbre of their voices. The technical skill in utilising both guitar and keyboard was nothing short of astounding. Occasionally Jan would pluck up the neck of his guitar, lending a short, sharp twinkling to accompany Josef’s persistent strumming. Charlatan took a stripped-back approach from the loud, rambunctious affair that preceded it.
Here, the focus was on Jan’s piano playing, with Josef’s guitar work playing second fiddle, allowing the audience brief respite. Sharp stabs of high volume occasionally penetrated, while soft-spoken words combined with a subtle piano fadeout, forming a pleasant, unobtrusive end.
In performing their album’s title track, Josef traded his acoustic guitar for electric, while Jan utilised his own guitar as a bongo drum of sorts. This gripping rhythm combined with layered guitar work made for a piece that was both intricate and intense. Things got hectic during Lines of Sight, as Josef removed his trademark cowboy hat. Here, jungle beats combined with laid-back guitar work, presenting imagery of travelling down a lazy river. Unlike the melancholia that came before it, this offered a semi-positive spin to an otherwise dour (in a nice way) night.
The encore was a raging torrent of noise, the crowd up and dancing as though summoning a demon, the lads’ voices rising to a fever pitch as a cataclysm of guitar strumming swept over all. This ended the night on a high note, and proved to be an exhausting yet rewarding experience. By combining soft-spoken vocals with complex guitar melodies, Amistat created a mesmerising atmosphere. Given their quick-wit, it was a night that was high entertaining in every aspect, one that won’t quickly be forgotten.
Check out the gallery below by Castaway Photography: