Gig review: The Preatures, The Hi Fi, 5 December 2014

It’s been quite a year for The Preatures, having successfully completed a jump to the major leagues with their hook-filled debut LP. The slickness and pop sensibility of these newer songs are a long way for their early days as a more rockabilly influenced band, but the retro sensibility and unbridled energy live act remain thankfully intact.

Shrugging off some early technical difficulties, they’re soon into stride in stomping, muscular style. They’re a heavier proposition live – even something as lush as the spectral pop of opening track ‘Blue Planet Eyes’ is given a harder edge in the live setting.

The retro pop of ‘Ordinary’ and ‘Cruel’ have even the people on the upstairs balconies dancing, spurred on the energy of frontwoman Isabella Manfredi. Whether cartwheeling across the stage, dumping water over her head or just generally rocking a leather jacket like 80s Joan Jett, she’s a rock star through and through.

She can do vulnerability just as well as strutting though, and the uncharacteristically downbeat ‘Two-Tone Melody’ and a solo turn on ‘Business Yeah’ show her range. For the most part though, it’s a celebratory high-energy affair with the choppy rhythms and soaring chorus of breakthrough hit ‘Is This How You Feel?’ and the fist-pumping ‘It Gets Better’ proving ideal Friday night fare.

The encore provides a reminder that The Preatures have a second formidable singer in the shape of Gideon Bensen who belatedly takes centre stage on a gleefully raw version of old chestnut ‘Take A Card’. It’s yet another facet of a band whose rapid ascent shows no signs of slowing down.

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