Thursday, November 17, 2011

Amaya Laucirica / Melodie Nelson. The Workers Club.

Amaya Laucirica, Melodie Nelson
The Workers Club, Fitzroy
Sat 22nd October, 2011.

Even though it’s raining tonight everything has that sharp, crisp look about it. The night is clean and seems wide eyed and ready to open its mind. I was on my way to The Workers Club to see Amaya Laucirica launch her latest EP, ‘Anywhere There’s You’. Whenever you get a chance to get along to see her play; you can never turn it down. Tonight though was going to be a little different for me, she was performing with her band. Each time I have caught Amaya live it has always been solo and oh so sweet, so I am intrigued to say the least.

I walked into the band room, bar down the right side and all surrounded by open style walls. The timber frames being utilised as shelves instead of covered with plaster. Behind the bar slots were cut out of the timber for wine glasses to slide into their home upside down. Bottles nestled into the recesses where they could stylishly fit. Out with those watching, tea light candles in glasses shone a tender light and danced in flickers to the chatter.

Melodie Nelson took to the stage as the opener. Standing timidly in front of a back drop of tree silhouettes painted on the wall behind, her green dress seemed to fit in with it perfectly. She stood there alone and looked nervous, fidgety, and uncomfortable. It gave the impression that maybe this may have been one of her first gigs. Once she started playing her little Casio keyboard it was instantly enchanting. Layers of wispy atmospheric vocals meandered in and out of themselves. Like her songs were lifted from a David Lynch soundtrack, they were haunting yet beautiful, sad yet uplifting. Melodie looked up a little self-consciously, “I should mention I usually have a band. I don't usually have a backing iPod” It didn’t matter. Those in the room were captivated by her voice, her sound and drawn in by her child like timidness. Looking up now and again and smiling shyly toward the crowd: whether from realising she knew someone or from feeling vulnerable singing alone on stage. Closing her eyes, Melodie falls into a large enveloping symphony of emotion and takes everyone with her. No one dare breathe or blink in case they disturbed the fragile ambience flowing from the stage. She finished the song, looking down around and then up shyly… “I’m just going to look for my wine… it's there”, finding it she takes a sip and rests it down gently, “Sorry you had to watch me drink. It's a bit weird.”

Song styles went from almost Patsy Cline-esque vocals to a psychedelic number that could have been in a Get Smart 60’s freak out scene. I had never heard Melodie Nelson before but was completely caught up in her creations… just beautiful. It was reminiscent of Portishead and their gentle and somewhat sensual delivery. It is then fitting then they play one of their tracks in the break.

The room starts to fill from the other bars in the venue as the band set up. People started to move a bit closer to the stage in anticipation as the members take their places. Opening with the softer ‘Most Times I Feel Alright’ is a perfect transition from Melodie’s set and from the outset all are captivated. As with realism in painting, Amaya’s vocals are so stunning you sometimes forget that they are created by a person. The lighting is a bit too bright and doesn’t set the appropriate mood, through Amaya’s direction the stage is a little more dimly lit and they continue on into a favourite ‘When I Think Of All The Places’. It’s easy to escape into the music and forget where you are when you’re listening to something like this. The songs are powerful and moving tales of thoughts and emotion, the bass beating along with your heart, the vocals; your soul.

The contrasting toe tapping up tempo ‘No Excuses’ see’s Amaya putting down her guitar and side-step dancing from foot to foot behind her keyboard. Her eyes are closed and she is enjoying it all.

Wondering if a band may drown out Amaya’s subtleties before the set, my thoughts were quickly put to rest. She is surrounded by some talented musicians. Incredible finger picking, accented symbols when necessary and the violin gave the songs such a beautiful ethereal quality.

Set list:
Most Times I Feel Alright
When I Think Of All The Places
Climb Up High
Anywhere She Went
It’s So Wrong
Sleeping In Your Shadow
This World Can Make You Happy
Sun On My Face
No Excuses
Two Stones
You’ve Got A Smile

The highlights of the night was the unearthing for me of such a natural talent in Melodie Nelson, Amaya as always and her guitarist, Andrew Keese, was truly amazing as well.

Amaya Laucirica’s ‘Anywhere’s There’s You’ EP is out now.
Site // Facebook

Melodie Nelson’s ‘Meditations On The Sun’ is also more than worthy.
Bandcamp // Facebook

Andrew Keese & The Associates.

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