10 November, Oxford Art Factory
Musicians cannot be reliant just on albums sales to make their careers. The real test comes from how well an artist can translate their recorded music into a live performance. Having just released her self-titled debut album, Ecca Vandal has been on the road touring intensely around Australia to promote the release.
Her music is indicative of the ambitious artists coming out of this country, but it was the reputation of her live shows that caught the attention of Queens of the Stone Age, who gave Ecca and her band the opportunity to support them at their Splendour in the Grass sideshows back in July.
For her own headline shows, bringing support acts of one style alone would be an injustice to the eclecticism and hybridity that serves her music so well. Joining her for the Sydney show were punk rock outfit Born Lion from Melbourne and the Sydney three-piece female hip hop group Haiku Hands.
The broad-minded club setting of the Oxford Art Factory suited the atmosphere of a diverse music line up and the crowd was not just a familiar sub-cultural group of people, but an audience spawning from interesting fashion sensibilities and many different backgrounds.
Born Lion kicked off the night with their confronting punk rock sound, however they managed to add melodies in their choruses making the high level of musicianship very apparent in their live performance. Each song of their set was fast and channeled an old school punk attitude that energised the crowd for what was to come.
Haiku Hands was a completely different affair. There were no live instruments, it was simply three women on stage backed by a laptop playing tropical bass music and breakbeats with the three of them chanting and rapping all in unison. It was quite an original sight and sound. You could not help but dance to those infectious beats and their dance moves were choreographed in a uniquely artistic way. Even the hardcore punks in the audience were getting right into it.
The sound of heavy breakbeats was the introduction of Ecca’s live entry as she opened her set with the song Dead Wait, her band was locked in tight to the pulsating rhythms with a drum machine adding more intensity to the primal bass lines. Future Heroine, the single of her album is a M.I.A influenced song that inspires you to sing along to.
For fans of her previous EP’s she performed the anarchic Battle Royal that never fails to give you a kick up the backside for good measure. Her musical personality kept shining throughout the whole set but it was most noticeable when she improvised a mash up of Lauryn Hill’s classic song Doo-Wop (That Thing) over her own hip-hop influenced song Your Orbit.
Where she really showed her total live performance credentials was when she jumped into the crowd and started singing amongst her fans during the hypnotic dance tune, Cassettes, Lies & Videotapes, a song that is about living in the moment. As a performer you could sense she felt comfortable going from a dance breakbeat tune to a rock jam. It wasn’t contrived at all and it shows how natural the music comes to her and the role she plays in each of her songs.
Price of Living was another stand out live song with a mention to the humanitarian crises going on in Manus Island. The song addressed this directly in its lyrics as she called out to the audience about the urgent need for all people to have equal rights. Before exiting the stage the band played the frenetic mosh pit jam Closing Ceremony, a song that really is punk to its core.
Ecca and her band did come back on stage for an encore playing the sorrowful song Cold of the World before exploding onto her rock anthem Broke Days, Party Nights where she again went into the crowd and got everyone down on their knees and then forced them to jump up like flees.
You could describe an Ecca Vandal show as exhilarating, fun and riveting. She really puts on a live performance that everyone can enjoy and welcomes you to be a part of a music universe that transcends genres. Ecca is fast becoming not only a formidable artist in the Australian music industry but an absolute performer, uplifting audiences and touching people’s lives with unforgettable showmanship and passion.