As far as female electronic acts go in Australia Melbourne’s real life enchantress Woodes takes the cake where I’m concerned. An artist who’s onstage presence and ability to command the attention of a room far outweighs her years, you’d be completely forgiven for forgetting that this recent run of shows is actually her debut headline run. Luring a healthy gathering to Brighton Up Bar on Saturday night, it was a show I’m not soon to forget.
A night that really served up a strong taste of female fronted strong electronic acts kicking off things was a Sydney duo that I have been dying to see for ages. Polarheart are an enigmatic duo who’s crystalline pop tracks instantly filled with warm with a special warm fuzzy feeling. Weaving a tapestry of rich pop hooks the duo showcased such a talent that just cannot be ignored.
Before Saturday night I will admit I had not really heard much about Ash Hendriks, but after Saturday she has become one of my fave new musical obsessions. Armed on stage with just a guitar, keys and her whispery vocal Ash had me captivated from the start.The generous hybrid of expressive layers of synths and electronic percussion with a beautiful layer of emotive guitar licks splashed across it blended so perfectly together it’s almost criminal how beautiful it all was. An endearing onstage personality and nervy kind of shy charm between songs gave me the kind of feels that she could be anyone’s new best friend.
Through a crowd, a flutter with anticipation cut the ambient growing synths that signalled Woodes arrival to the stage. A set full of sneak peeks into her upcoming sophomore EP release and re-vamped and reworked cuts from her debut Woodes stood tall on stage flanked by her entourage an enigmatic and magical viking/elven warrior there to capture your heart.
Her lyrics take on a more natural style delivered live, giving an organic touch to her highly polished production. The last time I had seen her live she was playing as a solo act, the addition of a guitarist/synth and drummer breathes a fresh new life into the live show allowing Woodes more focus and less distraction onstage. The new additions also helped to bring new a new vibe to the tracks from her debut EP. Rise see’s a stronger percussion line which gives the track more of a war cry feeling than the ethereal floating sensation of the original.
If the material from her debut EP was fiyah then the music that’s coming from the new one is a volcanic eruption. Origami, a track she seemed especially proud of see’s Elle bring her first ever #woodesdrop in the chorus which goes down a charm. Likewise Hunger a track she mentioned she worked on with Swedish X Australian duo Kate Boy has an equally addictive feel to it, though leaning more in a beautiful haunting quite feel. Blasting through the room the tribal drums of her latest single Run For It sent shivers down my spine. The live edit of the track is the be all to end all of electronic mastery. If I was told I could only listen to one more track before I died, it would for sure be this one.
It wasn’t just the music that makes you fall in love with Woodes, her honest, and slightly awkward conversations with the crowd between sets really topped off the night. A Woodes show feels more like a house party with friends, playing board games, drinking wine and listening to music till the sun’s rising in the morning. It’s early days for Woodes, but having seen how comfortably she could take on a crowd of this size, and the having fallen in love with her awkward rambling on stage, it’s hard to not see her stealing our hearts in the future. Now bring on that second EP girl!