Elizabeth Rose Discotheque Series @ The Brightside, 05/04/15
We head down to the dance floor, which is littered with several other people who are all glued to their phone screens. Every five minutes or so, a flume of smoke is halfheartedly emitted from above. Moments before the set is meant to end, a guy wanders in and starts nodding his flat-capped head enthusiastically, and then pulls some moves that make up for everyone else’s lack thereof. He might be off his face, or maybe just being ultra-polite. Seekae walks offstage and the set is over...
The transition from Seekae’s set to transitionary filler music is barely perceptible, and I’m left to wallow in disappointment at not hearing a single song from one of my most played albums of the past 6 months. Why would an artist of such intelligent music, play a dj set as inane and bland as this? His appearance tonight can only be a detriment to the originality of their work...
Seekae’s music has always resonated with me as being so nuanced; a subtle adagio in the genre of electronic music. For them to play a set of electronic dance music just seems crazy. If psychedelia was intended to reflect the mindscape at its inception in the 60’s, then the thoughtful electronica of Seekae’s discography might be said to represent a contemporary evolution of this.
With the incorporation of instrumental music into their digitally engineered sounds, Seekae’s music maintains a human presence that a lot of dance music surrenders in exchange for conformity with what’s trending on Soundcloud. While I was fan-girlishly anticipating this impeccably astute sound in action, I will have to try catching it at some other point in time.
Flanked by wing-lady keyboardist, Elizabeth Rose’s saccharine vocals almost seamlessly follow on from Seekae’s set. Her stage presence is refreshingly earnest and bubbly, and immediately attracts a throng of appreciative boppers on the dance floor. I find her adorable, with her platform Adidas and blunt fringe, and the enthusiasm is all there — but I'm not convinced she's hit her stride yet...
Her lyrics are sub-par and repetitive. So she wants to be a vocalist chick in the world of dance music? There's no doubt she has a pitch-perfectly rounded voice for it, but so do a
whole lot of other girls featuring on music-producers-from-Melbourne’s club-prepped singles...
Rose’s voice dips into gutsy, as well as reaching Grimesesque-sweet, but her ditties are nothing to write home about. Don't settle for being a flash-in-the-pan feature vocalist, E- Rose, because there are just so many of them. Micky Green, Emma Louise, Owl Eyes, Jezzabell Doran, Christine Hoberg, Moon Holiday, and a string of girls who go simply by their first names - Jess, Giselle, etc... While these vocalists themselves actually sound quite different from one another, there’s currently nothing to really set any individual apart from a cluster of ‘Flight Facilities Girls’.
They’re the chanteuses whose pipes are lent to all the hallmark dance tracks, but I don’t think they should settle for being names that follow ‘Flume feat.’
Alison Wonderland for example, has managed to hoist herself above the canopy of featurettes, and perhaps her success is owed to the sheer eclecticism that comes with being a classically trained musician. Rose’s early Unearthed track ‘Throw Me To The Stars’ had a dollop of this diversity in sound, with it’s sampling of an old ragtime tune — maybe a little more of this might set off that harmonic voice?
While watching the gig, I’m introduced to a friendly guy called George. When I ask him what he thinks of Elizabeth Rose, he tells me she’s his girlfriend.
After awhile, it suddenly occurs to me that George is from Seekae, and has played the dj set I just watched. So I abruptly launch into how great I think their recent album is, and he admits to how bummed he is that they couldn’t afford to bring the whole band up to Brisbane for the show, and had to settle for doing a dj set instead. All is explained and now makes sense! Everything is in its right place, and I no longer feel so disappointed, and I remember Seekae is awesome.
Maybe Elizabeth Rose collaborating with Seekae could be epically harmonious, carving out a niche for her voice, and bringing something different to the cultivated mosaic of Seekae’s work?