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LIVE: Abbe May – Perth, 4 Oct 2019

| 25 October 2019 | Reply

LIVE: Abbe May – Perth, 4 Oct 2019
Abbe May with Nika Mo and Hyclass, Badlands Bar, Perth, Western Australia
Review & photography by Pete Gardner

I think I am in love with Abbe May, and judging by the packed Badlands batcave on a wild and stormy Friday night, I am not alone. Playing a unique and intimate show as a fundraiser to record the follow up to the brilliant and highly acclaimed Fruit, there was plenty of love in the room as Abbe bared her soul and played a tour de force of greatest hits from across her career.

Opening proceedings to a good sized early crowd of weather beaten travellers, garage-folk singer Nika Mo delivered an enjoyable set, many of her songs celebrating contemporary life in Perth and adding a couple of well delivered covers of Joni Mitchells Little Green and the old Jackson Frank Classic Blues Run the Game.

Admittedly I am not a Rap/R&B fan, but found myself really enjoying Hyclass and her lyrics of empowerment for young women. Her excellent, strong voice is ably assisted by Natalie Mae sharing vocal duties, and Ruby May on the deck controlling the sounds. In no time the crowd was up and boogieing, as they warmed up the audience ready for the main event.

After a short break, the house lights go down, and entering the stage to Mussorgky’s Night on the Bare Top Mountain, drummer Matt Wright and the ever brilliant KT Rumble segue into a rumbling intro. Abbe takes the stage resplendent in a black suit with silver glitter boots, she strips off her jacket and dives straight into a blistering guitar solo confirming immediately just what a damn fine musician she is.

Abbe immediately raises the temperature in the room opening the set with Like Me Like I Like You, Make Love Not Sense and Bitchcraft, leaving a large number in the crowd already feeling in need of a cigarette and a cuddle, but the night is only just beginning. The pillow talk between songs through the night is open and honest as Abbe speaks candidly about mental health, self-image and being true to yourself. To discuss this intimacy in detail would feel like breaking a confessional seal, so the details will remain between her and us sharing the night.

The first set of the night features a number of tracks from Fruit, including a lovely solo version of Seventeen, and finishing up with a brilliant cover of Ginuwine’s Pony, Abbe first whipping the crowd into a lustful frenzy as she highlights some of the more salacious lyrics, Abbe again delivering a brilliant guitar solo as the crowd sing along in delight. Leaving the stage for a break between sets Abbe promises to return in fifteen minutes and fuck us in the ears once again!

Returning with a screaming Hendrix-like clarion call, Abbe’s guitar calls everyone back from the bar with a grungy heavy version of T.R.O.U.B.L.E, but the real highlight of this second set is Doomsday Clock, which starts with an ominous doom laden rumble. The song has even more meaning and relevance in the light of current world events.

The only song of the night from the forthcoming and as yet unrecorded new album is Abbe’s ode to Narcissism, Fuck You, again joined in full chorus with the by now quite inebriated crowd. All through both sets, people have been bringing tequila shots to the front of the stage, which Abbe happily enjoys, rewarding each bearer with a kiss and a hug after downing. The effect of all this tequila becomes quite noticeable as Abbe loses some of the finesse in her playing, and she quite freely admits to losing the riff a little during Mammalian Locomotion, but the audience couldn’t care less as the love-in continues. Closing out the night with Design Desire in wonderful crescendo proves she can still play like a demon despite having too little blood in her tequlia stream, we are left reeling in the afterglow, spent and satisfied.

With A heartfelt final speech, Abbe gives her respect to the crowd and vows to take everything from tonight to pour into the new album, promising to not let us down.

A brilliant night and possibly the best performance I have seen Abbe May play, the pure chemistry between the stage and the crowd was palpable. This was a love fest at its finest with the affection freely flowing both ways, and the offer of hugs at the merch stand post-show had a queue almost out of the door, final proof of the depth of feeling her fan base have for one of Perths most respected and talented artists. Now she needs to get on and record that album. I can’t wait!


Like Me Like I Like You
Make Love not Sense
Love Decline
Seventeen (Solo)
Are We Flirting

Blackout (Solo)
Doomsday Clock
Fuck You
Mammalian Locomotion
Taurus Chorus
Design Desire

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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