Live Review: Tigertown w/ Phebe Starr @ The Foundry
Around 8pm on Thursday night, an hour and a half before the music was due to start, a keen audience were already filling up the Foundry in anticipation of Tigertown’s Brisbane show. The Sydney 5-piece were in the middle of their ‘Lonely Cities’ Australian tour, arriving in Brisbane with fellow Sydney songstress Phebe Starr, her drummer Tim, and her keyboardist Michael in tow. While the bands enjoyed some downtime backstage chatting about everything from social media response rates and Will Ferrell movie quotes to the incorrect use of acronyms, DJ James Thomas Wright kept the energy up in the main room with a mixture of well-loved classics and modern electro jams.
With two and a half hours to kill before their set, Tigertown had plenty of time to relax on the backstage sofas while Phebe Starr was busy straightening her hair, fixing her makeup, and painting intricate designs around her eyes in gold leaf. At 9:30 on the dot, Phebe, Tim, and Michael took the stage, looking like true professionals in head-to-toe black outfits.
The bands enjoyed some downtime backstage chatting about everything from social media response rates and Will Ferrell movie quotes to the incorrect use of acronyms.
The trio worked their way through old favourites as well as tracks from their new EP ‘Zero’ as Phebe worked the crowd with intense eye contact and edgy dance moves. Each track was a skilful mixture of beautiful restraint with rhythmic, crashing drums. Armed with a set list full of cleverly written songs, Phebe showed off her smooth, strong vocals, throwing herself into each number with theatrical facial expressions and movements that made for a riveting visual experience.
“The thing I love so much about music is that it can express things we can’t [express] in words,” she said, right before launching into Lavender Scars. The vocal effects and dreamy synth on the track kept it feeling just as fresh and modern as the songs from ‘Zero’. New tracks Jurassica, Young Hearts, and The Worst Part were all well-received – it was clear by the sea of eyes fixated on the stage that Phebe’s captivating performance energy was working its magic, and even the moments of silence in the songs were every bit as intense as the music.
Phebe’s popular single Alone With You was a performance highlight – the song started gently as Phebe’s soft, sensitive vocals drew the crowd towards the stage, before Tim set the room off with a sudden burst of anthemic drum beats. Finishing off with her latest hit Feel My Love was a strong move, and proof that in the right hands classy synth and powerful drum rhythms are more than enough to carry off a hit song.
Phebe’s soft, sensitive vocals drew the crowd towards the stage before Tim set the room off with a sudden burst of anthemic drum beats.
As Phebe, Tim, and Michael left the stage, Tigertown kicked into gear getting the stage ready for the performance, and it wasn’t long before their first number Make It Real had the room jumping. Dressed in black, white, and gold, the band looked the part, and their confidence on stage showed through in the music: the intense strength and pride in the vocals was unwavering throughout the hour-long performance. With each anthemic number, their harmonies grew louder, so well-timed that it was as if they could see inside each others’ minds.
Bullet From A Gun was a clear crowd favourite, the anticipation building as the audience waited for the beat to drop. The band was just as enthusiastic as their fans, and they showed no signs of slowing down as the night went on. Their live energy took the music to another level, and somehow managed to turn every glorious indie-pop anthem into an epic banger on stage. The band synergy was obvious through the amount of fun they had on the stage – Charlie danced up close to guitarist Chris Collins as bouncy synth rhythms rebounded off the walls, keeping the whole room dancing.
Their live energy took the music to another level, and somehow managed to turn every glorious indie-pop anthem into an epic banger on stage.
Chris’ guitar solo in new track These Hands was an undeniable highlight, breaking up the swaying and dreamy vocal harmonies with a shot of rock flavour. The anthemic feel of the song translated brilliantly in a live setting, making it impossible not to get caught up in the easy melody and infectious rhythm. The final track from ‘Lonely Cities’, Always, was instantly recognisable by its dreamy, hazy tones and deep, chest-rumbling synth. Charlie looked almost as if she was entering a trance, and the crowd reciprocated by throwing their bodies around with just as much enthusiasm.
The fans’ enthusiasm was rewarded with a preview of Warrior, a brand new track slated to feature on Tigertown’s next release. The crowd showed their full appreciation for the exclusive, losing themselves to the hypnotic rhythms as Charlie belted out the high-pitched vocal melody. There were a million different styles of dance on display – some fans simply drifted from one foot to another like zombies, while others jumped around like lunatics from start to finish.
Every band needs a song that everyone knows, that you can sing in the shower, in the car, or on the bus with your headphones on maximum volume. For Tigertown, Lonely Cities is that song. It was without a doubt the most memorable track of the night, and with a crowd full of fans singing their own lyrics back to them, the band came into their own like never before. The entire audience had their hands in the air, jumping in time to the familiar beat.
With a crowd full of fans singing their own lyrics back to them, the band came into their own like never before.
When it was over, the band left the stage, returning less than a minute later to play two final songs as an encore: a cover of Pressure Down by John Farnham, and their 2013 single What You Came Here For. The show was only an hour long, but Tigertown filled every minute with so much energy and excitement that no one could have left unsatisfied.
Check out our photo gallery from the ‘Lonely Cities’ tour HERE
Read our interview with Tigertown’s guitarist Chris Collins HERE