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Live Review: Seen&Heard w/ Arafura, Sports Bra, Canine & Carb on Carb @ The Red Rattler Theatre – 14.07.2018

“Please make room for women, trans, gnc, poc, differently abled and marginalised identities at the front.”

These words on posters lining the walls of the Red Rattler Theatre set the tone for the night—those not normally given a platform were to be Seen and Heard.

The show, organised in collaboration with Subbed In, celebrated the launch of Seen&Heard, and featured performances from people included in the zine and cassette. The collaborative effort of designer Erin O’Brien and photographer Mikhaila Jurkiewicz, the project is inspired by the creative practices of women and gender diverse people in Australia, putting a spotlight on the adversities they face working in male-dominated industries. Musicians, writers, poets, photographers, visual artists, and other creatives have come together to contribute, telling the stories of marginalised people, and fostering a community of safe expression.

Saturday night was a testament to this—creating a welcoming and wholesome atmosphere with the Acknowledgement of Country, and the introduction of Seen&Heard. The opening three piece of Arafura then began, driving their unique barrage of anti-colonial, anti-powerviolence. Vocalist A’isyiyah Prahastono moved with incredible stage presence, injecting the short songs with the weight of their message, though the screamed lyrics were indistinct, the emotion was clear.

The first poetry section was an eerie change, quiet syllables ebbing and flowing in contrast to the crying amplifiers. Speakers Zhi Yi Cham, Tanya Ali, Mimi Lee, Kait Fenwick, Jessie Perrin, and Jini Maxwell commanded the audiences’ attention, with stories from chicken soup, community, relationships, and the reality of marginalised lives. Poignant lines like, “mapped bodies draped like protest banners,” and, “the biggest turn-on lies in reciprocity,” had me reaching for the poet’s social media, thirsty for more.

Sports Bra then took the reins with their raw rebellion, lead vocals shared by all members pouring honesty into fervent queer punk. Songs like Survival describe the strength and resilience of queer and trans people, with kick-in-the-guts lyrics like, “I am not your fucking mother, I am not your token transgender friend, and I don’t owe you a single fucking thing.” The voices were the focus, lines of harmonies and call-and-response tripping over each other, demanding to be heard. The band announced they have been recording an album, tracks to definitely keep your ears out for.

Another round of poetry silenced the room before it was filled up with the sludgy, grinding riffs of Canine. It was some of the quickest, tightest playing I have ever seen. Fingers danced across fret-boards, band members working in incredible synergy for how angular and quick the passages moved. The vocalist rarely showed their face, back to the audience and a mess of black hair. The dynamic performance still throbbed, you could feel it in your chest.

Auckland natives Carb on Carb then took the stage. The two-piece managed to sound like five, with what sounded like loop, octave, and chorus effects under Nicole Gaffney’s feet, and James Stutely’s crashing percussion shattering every beat like a caffeinated battlefield. The song about Gaffney’s dog Zuri Gaffney had people singing about their preference of dogs over people, “I love her more than most people!” and Man Says brought out our inner emo, “Bleach and straighten, get a fringe. I’ll even talk back to my parents.” In some points of their set I was just slackjawed, so impressed with the uniqueness of the songs, and the fullness of the sounds.

By the end of the last act the Zine had sold out, but I managed to get my hands on the tape—released through DIY tape label Terrible Tapes. With a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ side, you’ll find tracks from Jess Locke, Arafura, Snape, Sports Bra and more, all on red glittery wonder.

The show was spectacular, a great testament to a community that considers and appreciates people from all walks of life, and all struggles. Seen&Heard will continue with a photography exhibit, so keep up to date through Instagram, and check out their website HERE.

Written by Samantha Hughes