When it comes to observational banter, “you know when you swallow a load of lip gloss and it’s all scratchy?” isn’t the most universal bugbear. Said scratchiness luckily has no discernible effect upon Kill It Kid’s Steph Ward, her smooth voice equally effective at the forefront of the band’s bluesy rock-n-roll compositions as it is providing harmonic support to fellow lead vocalist Chris Turpin. The latter’s style is less conventional - like Eddie Vedder auditioning as Nina Simone for Stars in their Eyes - but no less successful, viscerally if not quite enunciatively.
Sparrow and the Workshop’s Jill O’Sullivan deserves similar acclaim for her flexible timbre and tone, her powerful vocals nestled at the heart of the three-piece’s dark, folksy balladry. However, Gregor Donaldson (drums) and Nick Parker (alternating between prominent bass and textural electric guitar) ensure there’s no mistaking the band for a “Cat Power + backing”-style solo affair, all three displaying a strong unity and close humour which makes their set all the more welcoming. Last Chance and The Gun are the pick of their more morose material, but Devil Song is the highlight, its whip-crack rhythm injecting tonight’s set with a welcome dose of vitality.