Friday 8th April – This was my motivation night, my ‘just do this assignment now and you can have fun then’ night. Richmond didn’t have any footy to contend with that night – it was all about The Corner.
After starting my night on the rooftop (which I did not know existed!), I madly rushed down the stairs because main support act, Cub Sport, were on at 10pm. There seemed to be no time between ‘yeah, we’ve got ages’ and ‘yeah, we have to run’. Luckily, we just made it in time to hear the intro to the first song. Now here’s the thing – as soon as I heard the punchy synths of ‘Stay’, I lost any ounce of professionalism I was pretending to have (damn).
Everything that I had loved about their recorded tracks translated into a live set that was extremely sure of itself. The jagged guitar riffs were just a comforting as the familiar melodic hooks guiding us to each chorus. The precision of each harmony was enough to indicate that the 4-piece remain acutely aware of the space they occupy. Overall, they played an impressively compact 40-minute set that included highlights from new album This Is Our Vice with a brief foray into their Told You So EP. Cub Sport were exactly what I’d hoped they would be; melodic, punchy and wistful.
Despite feeling satiated, the excitement in the room was building for the main act. At this point, I’ll give a shout-out to the pair who kept pushing for my front-row spot during the changeover (I’ll put it down to excitement – lol!)
I must confess that I didn’t actually know much of Saskwatch’s sound other than a passive listen of their latest album, ‘Sorry I Let it Come Between Us’. I had also heard that they were Melbourne locals and had a super cool female lead (both of which were confirmed during the set by Nkechi Anele herself).
With this in mind, I was determined to pay particular attention to the set so I could form some sense of what all the craze has been about. Whilst I achieved the latter, I certainly didn’t do so by concentrating and analysis. Instead, I stood there for about an hour somewhere between stunned and transfixed. And I wasn’t alone. Front woman, Nkechi Anele’s had the entire room at her mercy with a vocal that I presumed wouldn’t be achievable live.
Photo © AAA Backstage
When I checked my phone the next day, the one note that I managed to make was ‘every angle of every song’. A brief head scratch and a failed metaphor later, I felt foolish to forget. This remains a reference to the stage presence of Anele; she seemed to manoeuvre between each lyric both physically and vocally, maintaining enough control to take all of us with her. Anele effortlessly combines with the band to give us an intoxicating duality of a smooth soul vocal with a searing instrumental, revitalising the genre for yet another new audience.
Ever grateful for the continuing support, the Melbourne locals seemed just as happy to be home as we were to have them. Hopefully future visits aren’t too infrequent because the Nkechi Anele withdrawals are just around the corner.
My biggest takeaway from the night was that the unique styling’s of Saskwatch are best experienced live. So if you can – go check them out!