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Fresh off the back of a European tour and a prized slot at Glastonbury, The Preatures‘ sold-out performance at The Corner Hotel on Saturday night was nothing short of a pop rock masterclass. The gig was the first of their five-date Two Tone Melody Tour that’s making its way around the country in the next three weeks.
Melbournites clambered in early for opener Gunns, who churned out a pleasing set of lo-fi, surf-garage sounds to nod your head and tap your feet to. Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems built on the feel-good atmosphere with a solid array of indie rock gems. The band lured a strong reception for newest single Dumb Ideas, which recently scored national radio play.
All lights dimmed to red, setting the tone for the seductive undertaking that followed. The kick-drum boomed as The Preatures’ silhouettes slunk gracefully onto stage. Frontwoman Isabella Manfredi is unmissable, her reputation as a magnetic, rock goddess precedes her, and for good reason. She is fierce, alluring, absolutely sassy, and it was near impossible to take your eyes off her.
Manfredi powered her voice to a near-yelp for acclaimed single Manic Baby. The ’70s-inspired track had the crowd jigging about with its disco guitar hooks and sultry bass lines. Whatever You Want boasted the smoky vocal tones that regularly see Manfredi likened to Stevie Nicks. This was bolstered further by the track bearing the rhythmic, sequential and undeniably catchy hallmarks of a Fleetwood Mac song.
The five-piece outfit slowed it right down for a mid-set interlude with simplistic, moody bass tones. The atmosphere was set for the band to edge gracefully into melancholic ballad Two Tone Melody. Electronic beats resonated through the bustling venue as guitarist Jack Moffitt swapped instruments with bassist Thomas Champion. Manfredi stood perfectly still, hands clasped as she poured her soul into each emotive chorus.
Synth-bells echoed out as Manfredi engaged with the transfixed audience, creating an intimacy in the swarming band room. “We’ve been working on our record. It’s going well. It’s almost done!” she announced, excitedly.
Single Better Than It Ever Could Be saw the audience swaying back and forth as the band led into a monster chorus. Manfredi shrieked through the microphone with effortless control. The Preatures left no stones unturned in this performance. It was raw and energetic, and a vivid highlight of the set.
Manfredi’s showmanship escalated to new levels as she danced frantically about the stage, handstands and all, during new song Somebody’s Talking. “Are you ready to dance badly?” Manfredi asked, as the opening melody of Is This How You Feel? had the audience pushing forward. It was at this point that musical powerhouse Gideon Bensen truly flaunted his vocal ability, fitting silkily into the harmonic spaces of the song.
An unending applause saw the band return for an animated performance of Take A Card. Bensen engaged in a playful back-and-forth with Manfredi, as they frolicked enthusiastically across the stage. Manfredi had her way with every person in the room. She seemed delightfully aware of that, a huge smile spanning her face as the band sauntered charmingly off stage.
The show was a perfectly executed teaser for The Preatures’ upcoming debut album. Following what can only be described as a mind-blowing performance on Saturday night, it’s no surprise this is one of the year’s most highly anticipated releases.
The Preatures will continue their ‘Two Tone Melody Tour’ this week at The Metro, Sydney and will also appear at Splendour In The Grass.
Image: The Preatures at The Corner Hotel Melbourne, 2014 / Photo: Brett Schewitz