Waax, Siamese @ Edinburgh Castle, Adelaide 31/5/2018
Unfortunately I arrived just having missed first support Unknown Locals. Second support, locals Siamese immediately brought to mind a 90s influence playing an angular set of postrock songs that followed the usual tropes but seemed less structured and more groove orientated. The grunge-type style they employed certainly displayed their strengths. The interplay between the guitar and bass was hypnotic although the build towards an almost maelstrom finale in their last song was an opportunity lost but then the song begins again and the flickering lighting accentuates the expanse of a song that builds to an unfortunate familiar ending.
WAAX commenced their set with an energetic Wild &Weak quickly followed by I For an Eye with an opening line that seems to borrow from Devo’s Girl You Want. Charismatic vocalist Marie DeVita is the obvious centre of the band, connecting with the audience while Chris Antolak and Ewan Birtwell on guitars are almost faceless and anonymous beneath lengthy manes of hair. If you can you take your eyes off Marie and manage look elsewhere for a moment, you would notice the understated rhythm section of Tom Griffin on bass and Tom Bloomfield on drums ably keeping time. Marie comments, “last time we played here we played here there was to ten or fifteen people”, back in December 2015 although the band have played elsewhere in Adelaide since then. There’s a new song in Fade and then the audience match Marie’s vocals for the favourite This Everything. As Marie moves around the stage and shares herself with the audience, photographers respectively vie for successful vantage points. Marie seems to be carrying a race memory of the vestigial Riot grrrl genre, propped on her knees with her back arched and eyes rolled back in an almost state of possession howling out her words.
While the set contains many familiar songs, there are a few new ones and Marie states, “We’ve been in the studio a lot cooking up some new tunes”. One of these is Little Things which is announced as being a live debut. Another new song All These Years starts as a ballad with just Marie and Chris and when you it seems as though the rest of the band are not going to join in, Griff takes over on bass, leading the other members into a postrock instrumental exercise. The lyrics appear to borrow a refrain reminiscent of the The Smiths Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before. It’s back into the known material with You Wouldn’t Believe before a cover of Julia Jacklin’s Pool Party, the audience singing along like it was one of WAAX’s own songs as Marie wails the forlorn words, “I want to give you all of my love…”.
Karen is another new song after which Chris chastises a lone, failed attempt to crowd surf in the closing moments. Towards the end, there are a couple of repeated requests for This Everything which had been played earlier but that didn’t mean that WAAX had peaked too early as demonstrated by an audience becoming increasingly active and rubbing up against each other like tinder, culminating with the performance of latest single Labrador which concluded their set. Unfortunately, the promised encore was not forthcoming which was due to an audience at this time not giving and being too expectant that they didn’t have to work their applause for one. This was my only criticism but I will side with a band any time when the apathy of a weak applause does not return a band to the stage.
Live Review by Jason Leigh