THE BOOKS @ PERTH FESTIVAL

by alex p. (pics by cam & ben for qc)

Connecting with a song, artist, or city can be uniquely rewarding. Connecting with all three at once is special. The Perth Festival makes that possible through the Beck’s Music Box, alluringly assembled on the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia.

With a wealth of incredible artists set to grace the stage over the coming weeks, the bandshell by the The Bell Tower is set at icon status for the likes of Caribou, Jack Dejohnette, Joanna Newsom, Wildbirds and Peacedrums, Os Mutantes, and Best Coast. An incredible curation effort by the longest tenured international arts festival in Australia.

Quiet Color made its Music Box debut for The Books show on Feb 16. The duo (turned trio) created one of the top albums of 2010 in The Way Out, so just heading to this show felt like a secret trip out of town. The set opened with the first track of the album Group Autogenics 1, a song littered with perfectly articulated, life balancing sentiments (“Whoever you think you presently are.. .Thank you.”). The carefully placed video and sound samples form a road map to consciousness that have navigated me through mornings, and on this day set me on proper course for this show.

Artist: The Books
Song: Group Autogenics 1

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The Books’ albums have always featured that awakening quality, but with the band’s addition of new third member Gene Back, their shows now offer even more. Back’s guitar and violin prowess free up Nick Zammuto to play bass on a host of tracks, while Paul de Jong steadies on the electric cello. As a band that incorporates multiple layers of sound, the extra musician definitively adds to the amplified output.

Artist: The Books
Song: Cold Freezing Night

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The track “Tokyo” is now a part of the set list (in the past they’d just play a video of it), and the live version of “Cold Freezing Night” plays like a percussive standoff of string instruments, with three different weapons blasting beats simultaneously.  On the gentler side, “Free Translator” was predictably beautiful and centered my soul through its duration.

I’m trying to explain that something I already loved has gotten better.

On a closing note, I met a new friend at the show who plays in the Perth band Rabbit Island. She told me “the whole stage seemed to be emanating loveliness and humble pleasure. There was a heavy sprinkle of ‘yesness!’ to the show.”  She would later run through a set of sprinklers on the way to her car. I liked that.

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