First published on 21 Jun 2012. Updated on 22 Jun 2012.
Disbelieve at your peril, for it is completely true: five thousand young women and men packed into the Hordern Pavilion to see the Jezabels
on the final night of their national tour. From the first glimmers of attention just a few years ago off the back of their Triple J Unearthing, the young Sydneysiders have grown that
The night kicked off with a set from the first of two well-chosen supports, 2011 Unearthed winners (sense a theme?), Snakadatal. There is already a substantial buzz around the Victorian teenagers, who fulfilled expectations with a gentle set showcasing their cruisey arrangements and on-point girl-boy harmonies. They are no doubt still developing as performers, but their success is in the bag.
Next on was Canadian band, Lights, whose epic (there really seems no better word) pop-rock paved the way for the headliners. Their stadium-friendly songs – somewhere in between U2 and Paramore - should have been a good fit for the big space, but it felt like they did themselves in by starting in fourth gear and leaving themselves nowhere to go. The singer exercised good control but lacked soul, and a couple of songs were enough to get the idea.
The Jezabels, unfortunately, suffered from elements of the same syndrome. It can’t be easy for a once-small band to command a venue that size, but from the moment they opened – with ‘Endless Summer’ – it was clear they were going to give it their stadium-best.
Dressed in slightly awkward goth-poppy S&M garb, it was on singer Hayley to bring the sexy. The energy was unfaltering but, like the previous band, the element of surprise ebbed quickly away. Hayley belted confidently, but appeared to be straining the high notes. The band was tight, though, with the drummer and slinky-fingered keyboardist bringing out the most impressive chops. Some pleasant projections also compensated for the band’s samey, high-octane delivery.
All up the Jezabels’ performance left us a touch cold, suggesting they’d still be better off in a smaller venue. Nevertheless, we toast their effort.
The Jezabels played the Hordern Pavilion on Sat Jun 9.