Review: Vera Blue at Fat Controller

Words by Lucy Regter
Photos by Georgia Matthews

Buried deep into the farthest corner of the Fat Controller basement, Sydney-based duo Plgrms opened up what was to be a night of atmospheric, electronic-pop goodness. Plgrms have been tentatively releasing singles since late 2015 and garnering an impressive online following with their silky sound. Influences of quirky Alt-J instrumentation make these boys a captivating listen. Jacob Pearson and Jonathon Bowden, joined by an extra band member, rallied a full crowd despite their early playing time. The vibe grew moody as we heard the dark new single 'Gemini' and the brooding 'Fools And Their Gold', before wrapping up with their most recent release, 'Dream You Up'. Pearson’s vocal performance was unwavering and glided atop the electro beats with ease.

Continuing with the Sydney talent were Mammals, a band who know how to create engulfing, atmospheric soundscapes that draw equally on indie and electronic elements. Front-man/vocalist Guy Brown’s light-weight, breathy vocals lingered in the basement, accompanied by intricate instrumentation that often stretched into extended jams. Playing their sophomore EP Chase Your Bliss live transformed these ethereal tracks into anthemic productions that dived deep into an instinctive sea of lush, electro-pop.

Last year saw singer/songwriter Celia Pavey, also known as Vera Blue, release her disarming debut EP Fingertips and head across the country on a headline tour. Following the release of her new single 'Private' in March, Blue hit the road again before the release of her debut album, set for release later this year. From the moment the songstress took to the stage, the entire basement was entranced. Something about her presence was at once totally demanding and angelic (maybe something to do with her impressively long locks?), as fans pressed into the barrier desperately. In saying this though, the vibe was humble.  

Blue’s background in folk music shone through during acoustic moments on tracks like 'Patterns', revealing the fragility of her commanding voice before shifting to an electronic composition. Blue’s ability to navigate through these different styles is gripping- but what really won over the crowd were the explosive, powerhouse choruses in 'Private' and 'Fingertips'. Jack Garrett’s 'Breathe Life' got a stripped-back, spare-electro spin punctuated of course by Blue’s immaculate vocals, before we sealed the night with a gorgeous extended version of 'Hold', that almost instilled chaos. It’s exciting to see the potential Blue has of filling a much larger venue in the future with both a pristine style and an enthralling stage presence like this.

Watch the film clip to Vera Blue's new single "Private" on YouTube now.