-By Luke Keatinge
On an unusually cold and stormy Autumn night, Perth faithfuls huddled together in the Amplifier Bar last Saturday to witness indie-folk rockers Little May on the Perth leg of their For The Company tour, with support from Morgan Bain and Childsaint.
Morgan Bain, the multi-instrumental Perth artist opened the night with an energetic and soulful set of inventive rock-fueled R&B. With a synthesizer and keyboard accompanying his electric guitar, Bain captivated the early crowd with a seasoned musical talent and a truly commanding voice, filling the room with an uncommon grit and soul. Single, Why Don’t You Stay, had to be the set highlight, and those unfamiliar with Morgan Bain and not expecting such power and presence from a solo opening act were surely fans afterward.
Childsaint were up next with their stripped-back, dreamy garage. The all-female Perth quartet performed to a half-filled Amps with a sound and demeanor ripped straight out of the 90s alt rock scene. Their loose, drone-y guitars and distant, airy vocals blended in a really timeless, captivating way. Bury Me showcased the band’s desolate, scratchy grooves while tracks Dessert and Hallelujah Heartache showed their softer sounds and gentle harmonies that built to huge crashes of unhinged guitars and aggressive distortion – still coated in a dreamlike haze.
Filling out pretty quickly between sets, the Amplifier Bar was shaking from anticipation (and the cold) when Little May began their set. Set opener Cicadas from the new album set the band’s signature folky ambience with its slow moody build, nostalgic vocals, smooth melodic runs and distant acoustic plucking. But the band’s central rawness was balanced with a more electric energy, as the core trio of Sydney songstresses in Hannah Field, Liz Drummond and Annie Hamilton were accompanied by three other members for the night, filling out their acoustic magic with some synth, bass and drums.
With the folkiest of folk expressions, frontwoman Hannah Field described the set as an “emotionally-fueled bushwalk”, with the emotional highs and lows of their songs reminiscent of the metaphysical self-reflective experience of wandering through the wilderness. This bushwalk included a stop at ‘Angst Mountain’ with the calming but intensely moving Midnight Hour, with the delicate three-part harmonies beautifully realized in the building verses and choruses. A night of Australian folk wouldn’t be complete without some classic Australiana, and the band’s uniquely stripped-back and atmospheric cover of Icehouse’s Great Southern Land was a big hit, with Hannah and Liz trading vocals back and forth while Hannah slowly and coolly grooved along centre stage, as she had been all night.
Little May finished their set with the beautifully tender and powerfully understated Dust, with Liz taking the lead vocals, followed by the electrifying Remind Me, ending the night on a big, climactic flurry of guitars, drums and energetic harmonies. Little May’s powerful sound, with their beautifully rich and ethereal voices, tender harmonies, powerful drums and guitars and masterful folk ambience, transcended the terrible Perth conditions and captivated us all in their folk magic. It was a great night where everyone came together through the wind and the rain to be truly mesmerized by a band.