-by Luke Keatinge
Victorian outfit Free Time have been touring the country launching their new LP ‘In Search of Free Time’, and Saturday night saw the band’s Perth leg, playing Mojos with a stacked lineup of supports including Regular Boys, Kitchen People and Peter Bibby.
Regular Boys kicked it off with their distinctly drone-y Australiana. Characterised by loose guitars, ambling rhythms and sharply conversational lyrics delivered through slacker-like vocals, their sound evokes a curiously transfixing air of a dreamy and nostalgic yet modern Australian indie-rock. Tracks Bad Behaviour and set-closer Hunt, off their recently launched ‘Have a Go’ EP, were huge stand-outs with their catchy choruses and portraits of desolate Australian suburbia.
Garage thrash rockers Kitchen People were the second support to take the stage, not letting the sparse crowd lessen their intensity. The Perth outfit delivered a relentless set of high energy post-punk with their rough, scratchy guitars, distorted melodies and piercing vocals. Kitchen People are hard-hitting, messy and unhinged, and if you’ve never seen them before, you need to head down to a show and catch one of the most entertaining and commanding local Perth acts.
Perth-turned-Melbourne artist Peter Bibby was up next – the final date on his run of ‘A Cheeky Little Tour’ shows – and in many ways he stole the night. Bibby’s set was a unique display of what can only be described as ‘bogan folk’. The singer-songwriter tells tales of drunken debauchery and personal struggle and hollowness through rich chord progressions, twanging guitars and a powerful Aussie drawl. Many musicians try to merge the whole Aussie folk act with a bogan quirkiness, but Bibby pulls it off in a way others don’t. There’s an authenticity and soul to it, and backed by his band known as his ‘Bottles of Confidence’, Peter Bibby’s songs are pure poetry of a certain slice of life often defined by ciggies, alcohol and medication. A true Australian genius.
While a fair amount of the crowd thinned out after Peter Bibby, those who stuck around for Free Time were instantly transfixed by the quartet’s blissful energy and calming vibes. Their low key grooves, clean mellow guitars and chill, melancholic melodies were showcased with tracks I Lost Again and Nothin but Nice, both off their 2014 self-titled debut, with singer Dion Nania’s plain but delicately emotive voice resonating perfectly along with the tracks’ carefree pace.
Released in April, Free Time’s sophomore album ‘In Search of Free Time’ was recorded in Melbourne after frontman Nania travelled back home from New York to work on it – and this international influence is felt throughout the record. The gentle, jangling melodies of Among the Reeds and the swirling tempos of All Four Seasons were the perfect summation of the band’s delicate, airy sound that is dreary but emotional, relaxed but exuberant. Apart from a few technical issues, the set was a laid back window into a seasoned, breezy indie-pop rock.
Photo Credit: Free Time