As PIAF winds down, and the onset of a wet summer looms (the most dreaded of all summers). If it wasn’t for the fact that I was in area where free-flowing public availability of moonshine and overpriced street food, the sheer humidity would have convinced me that I was at a pasar malam in a nicer part of downtown Jakarta.
After establishing the fact that I was in fact not somewhere in South East Asia, and I was in fact still in Perth, I arrived at the Gardens just as Timothy Nelson and his motley crew were serenading the early birds that had gathered there (along with the airborne mosquitoes that enjoy basking in the warm, wet environs). Timothy Nelson is, to say, a very well known local personality for those who don’t know, and can be spotted a mile away with his big fluffy, bright red afro, and he sings songs that remind of you our windswept, sunburnt plains.
Warming up the main stage (which was probably already as hot af with all the lights and electronics) was local act Mosquito Coast (trivia- there’s a 1986 film of the same name starring a very young and strapping Harrison Ford). My first instinct was something along the lines of “please-not-another-West-Australian-shoegaze-band”, and as soon as they started, they sure were that, with the psychedelic rhythms, upbeat light hearted vibe, combined with the musings of the youthful and the innocent. Derivative as they were, at the very least their pop was decently catching to that I ended up unconsciously grooving (slightly) to, though some of the younger audience- a mistake I shall endeavour not to quite do again. Mosquito Coast are the perfect stage-warmers for any act.
Frankie Cosmos, may not be exactly my kind of jam, but with her irreverent, highly relatable witticisms combined with her lo-fi indie sounds that you would normally associate with that housemate of yours who has his own bedroom project- it’s not hard to see why she’s a lot of people’s favourite spread. New Yorkers do love our weather, and having to take off their winterwear on stage elicited one of those typical male responses (which is probably more friendly, lusty ribbing). Frankie Cosmos and band also used a little of performative dance during their set, which was slightly interesting so to say.
Margaret Glaspy came on to finish the night, and it was probably the longest and yet aurally rewarding set I’ve gone to, even the sweat was starting to really stick and the humidity was starting to make me fall a little asleep. Regardless of whether or not you like her brand of wispy, soulful rock, in the vein of St. Vincent and the National, there’s no denying absolute talent here, as if it was an actual quantifiable thing, and not a subjective opinion. Her set was just good in a very sublime way, that sounds and feels just perfect. Glaspy’s vocals carried the entire set on her own, running through some of the best hits of her discography, along with some covers of other artists, that were quite personal to her. It was a very intimate set (if somewhat overly long) for those who stuck all the way to the end.
After the end, I began my long sojourn home catching the train from the Elizabeth Quay (formerly the Esplanade), I somehow managed to get into conversation with one of the punters who was there. Both of us agreed that Glaspy was brilliant, and it turns out that this guy used the Cool Perth Nights gig app to service his weekend needs, and he in turn to got to meet the human face of one its writers.