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| 17 October 2017 | Reply

The Civic Hotel, Inglewood, Perth, Western Australia – Friday, 13 October 2017
Review & photography by Peter Gardner

Jaime Page’s Dark Universe is a fairly unique experience. The Dark themes in the lyrics describing Jamie’s journey of transition over the years is off set by the brightness of the music. This is prog rock at it finest, and the loyal crowd steadily drinking the bar dry on Black Friday appreciated every note.

Jaime, bassist Craig Skelton, vocalist Donna Greene and master of the drum kit Mike Burns are a tight outfit. The group can be caught regularly around Perth playing sets of Led Zeppelin or Fleetwood Mac covers: like most working muso’s they pay the bills playing covers, and are well worth catching when performing one of their tribute acts . As such they have an affinity for each other which shined through tonight as they presented their original material, debuting a number of new songs to their gathered fans.

The Civic Hotel concert room in Inglewood is an wonderful little venue, nestled at the back of an unassuming typical suburban pub where you would normally find people tucking in to their schnitzel and watching the footy, the room has a fully equipped stage and lighting rig, and an excellent sound system, which should be the envy of many of Perth’s venues.

Opening the show with Dark Universe, the operatic title track from their debut album, they eased themselves into the first half of the show, before upping the tempo with Seventh Heaven, Donna turning the vocals up to eleven and Jaime showing off her incredible mastery of the guitar at the front of the stage. A number of new songs were presented to the appreciative crowd, starting with the moody Shatter, followed by a tribute to the life and death of Jimi Hendrix, Bleed Me Dry. Donna takes the chance to say Hi to the Audience, introducing Falling In A Dream, the newest song of the night which she tell us they have just finished mixing in the studio.

The Dark Universe stage wear are steampunk style leather greatcoats, (all good prog rock is as much about theatre as the music) however, with this the hottest night of the season so far, and the temperature in The Civic rising steadily, Jaime swiftly discarded hers, whist Craig diligently powered on pouring with sweat and gurning with his ever present “bass face”. This didn’t stop him thundering through the highlight of the first set Letting Go, before finishing with the 80’s sounding Goodbye Angel.

An extended interval allowed those in attendance to recharge their glasses at the bar, the steadily inebriating crowd watching the half time entertainment of a bank of video cameras being checked and adjusted. When I arrived at the venue I was surprised to see a ridiculous number of cameras (I counted eleven) scattered around the stage, so there will be a DVD of the night coming. This did unfortunately create a bit of a barrier between the stage and the crowd, leaving the band a little isolated through the first set. This wasn’t so much of an issue in the second half of the show, as after a few beers people were determined to get up and dance, fortunately no expensive accidents occurred, and all equipment remained intact.

The second set was launched with the opener from the first album, Deepest Black, Jaime again showing off her axe skills with some extended soloing. The influences of the new wave of British progressive rock in the early eighties are very obvious in this number, and I felt I was in a nostalgic time warp back to1984 at the Marquee in London’s Soho, watching bands such as Pendragon and Twelfth Night. Jaime and myself obviously grew up listening to the same music!

The second set was weighted heavily to the new album. Jaime’s growing strength as a songwriter can be heard as she moves into her own style. Don’t Go is greeted with the biggest cheer of the night, followed by God Help the Rest of Us, a straight rocker “dedicated” to a certain 45th POTUS.

The new album is due for imminent release, final mixes permitting, and the title track Into The Black was presented with solid vocals from Donna, and another excellent extended guitar solo from Jaime, much to the delight of the now far from sober crowd. Another new track, the anthemic sounding Weight Of The World is followed by fan favourite XXX27, before finishing with a preview of Deconstuct, another new song earmarked for the third Dark Universe album Star of Light. So we shall have to wait a while to hear that one again.

An excellent, enjoyable night was had by all, and no doubt a good number of hangovers were not so welcome come morning.

Dark Universe are performing next at Scorcher Fest at Badlands on 29th October, along with a host of local bands, and the next album Into The Black is set for release in the near future.

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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