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live music review: alison avron, the jade monkey, 8 march 2012

Not many people would be on the look-out for live music hidden down an alleyway off Adelaide’s main retail drag on a Thursday night. Luckily, those who fancy a bit of a weekday treat (and are able to put their late night shopping on hold) can head to the Jade Monkey and catch local as well as interstate artists.

After kicking around Adelaide for the last few weeks and playing in a few fringe shows, quirky indie pop princess-in-waiting Alison Avron played a short, mixed set promoting her debut EP, Wrong Notes and Anecdotes. Avron – who’s originally from Mt Gambier but now resides in Sydney – dubbed this her ‘homecoming tour’, and there were many audience members who happily welcomed her back.

Avron played second on the bill, sandwiched between established Adelaide band The Colourphonics and newcomers, The Brenton Foster Band. The Colourphonics wasted no time bringing their unique funk influenced, sometimes bluesy sound to the stage.  The strong vocals of front-man Phill Tucker soared over the band. This guy can really sing! The five piece band pulled off a tight set – definitetly  one to look out for.

Playing after Avron, The Brenton Foster Band, fronted by vocalist/keyboard player (yep you  guessed it) Brenton Foster, had a more pop influenced take on things, sounding like the love child of Maroon 5 and Jamiroquai.  Special mention goes to bass player Marty Holoubek whose unassuming bass lines laid down a solid foundation for the band to build on.  It did seem a bit strange that every song played by these four musically talented (and good-looking) young guys should be about lacking girlfriends and general heartbreak.  If you like keyboard driven pop with a bit of a twist, their debut album You Said is definitely worth a listen.

Alison Avron ran onto the stage in a pair of sequined Connies and launched herself into her turn to perform in front of the unfortunately small audience.  Her voice was stronger and more well rounded than many of the squeaky, lispy female indie/pop singers that seem to dominate Triple J at the moment.

With her best friend as a backup singer, Avron performed many of the tracks from her aforementioned debut EP as well as a few yet-to-be-recorded numbers. The highlight of the set was the musical theatre influenced ‘Imaginary Boyfriend’.  This song was truly funny and detailed the many reasons why an imaginary boyfriend can be better than a real one. Unfortunate lowlight of the set was the karaoke-ish cover of nineties hit ‘Jackie’. Yes we all love singing this one on Sing Star, but that’s where it should stay! Avron yelled orders for the audience to dance, before finishing up with a crowd favourite from her debut album, ‘Happy Stories’.

Alison Avron played some fresh and interesting music but her manic on-stage presence, which switched from elated to seemingly angry between songs, didn’t appeal to everyone.  All in all, the show was still a fascinating spectacle and there were some good tunes indeed.

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