– by Kristina Wilford
Tuesday night saw the launch of the Lofty Heights Ep “The Changing Face of Lofty” at The Ellington Jazz Club. The small, intimate venue was the perfect place for the beautiful tunes to be appreciated. I arrived midway through the set of the support act De son Cuba. The fun and lively tunes went down well with the excited crowd. The venue already seemed to be fit to burst but the door just kept on opening and somehow the venues wonderful staff found more room.
In no time at all, it was time for Lofty Heights. The crowd full of family, friends and fans alike let their adoration and anticipation be known. The band, made up of Conan Greenway on guitar, Joe Powell on bass, Brodie Stewart on keys and Gregory Brenton on drums, wasted no time in launching into their first song “Follow” with guest vocalist EDDE. From the first note, the band powered through like a well-oiled machine with no hint of nerves in sight. Next up was a cover of Ta-ku’s “I Miss You” with a sample of Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. The vocals of EDDE are phenomenal. I was completely taken aback by her talent. When she sang “You’re Not the One” the entire crowd almost seemed to stop breathing, not wanting to miss a second of her phenomenal abilities. The equally-amazing Solomon Pitt joined her for a couple of songs and had a stint of lead vocals.
Before one of the EP highlights “Lilly”, Greenway, the driving force behind the project, spoke about his motivation for the EP. He started writing the songs at a time when his sister Lara was in hospital battling illness. It was incredibly heartfelt and gave us new fans a deeper understanding of the emotional depth of the EP. He then went on to say that his sister had since passed away and the heartbreaking loss was still so apparent in his voice. I was floored by the way he so eloquently spoke of her and how he has taken the horrible experience and turned it into an extraordinary piece of art that honours her in such a beautiful and positive way. I can’t speak for Lara but if he was my brother I would be ridiculously proud.
The highlights of Pitt’s vocal stint included a mash up of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and “Hard Man” featuring rapper Tinashe Soko (S.O.X.). The combination of Pitt’s spine-tingling vocals and Soko’s sensational rapping was a delight to hear. They teamed up again for the closing number “It’s Time”. It’s a painfully honest and thought provoking track and one of my favourites from the EP.
All in all, the night had a bit of everything. Solo’s for every band member (including a wicked bass solo from Powell), ample room for the vocalists and rapper to shine, and a huge amount of support from the appreciative crowd. One thing that has stuck with me was when Greenway’s mother stood up to tell the crowd how none of the musicians on stage had been paid for their services and we should do whatever we could to support them. For them, it was just about the love of the music and it was apparent from the smiles that never left their faces. It’s a story that is often told in Perth, choosing the love of your art over the ability to make money and live. But it shouldn’t have to be that way. We have some exceptional talent in this state and with enough support from audiences, like the one I was part of on Tuesday, bands like Lofty Heights won’t have to choose.