Lanie Lane @ Fly By Night, Fremantle 12/05/12

If you haven’t yet heard of Lanie Lane, you may have been living under a rock. With your ears covered. On the Moon.

This Triple J favourite has been everywhere lately, with her unique look and songs channelling the retro glamour of Billie Holiday and the golden age of jazz and blues, with a twist of rockabilly thrown in. She has been nominated for four APRA awards and has gained a bit of a cult following, if her sellout show at the Fly by Night on Saturday was anything to go by. It was a really mixed crowd; at least 40% of the audience was over 40, whereas the rest of the audience was a blend of 25ish indie kids with a few rockabilly types thrown in.

Opening the show was local Perth indie-pop rock act, Warning Birds. This young four-piece took out the WAMI Rock Song of the Year Award last year, so they were sure to put on a pretty impressive show.

Despite frontman Sam Carmody’s guitar string breaking during their second song, you could not fault their performance. They performed with an additional member on Saturday; violinist Alex Vickery adding an extra dimension to their music with haunting violin parts and a cheeky bit of tambourine playing on the side.

Some of the highlights of their set were Sally, the first single off first album to be released in June. It was apparently about a boy hooking up with his teacher.. . have to wonder if it was autobiographical… They finished off their very short set (only five songs!) with Ghost Town, which you can listen to on their Triple J Unearthed page.

The second support act was Sydney man, Steve Smyth. Setting himself up on stage, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking he was the straggly bearded, slightly vagrant looking roadie. But once he had wrapped his scarf around the microphone stand (??) and opened his mouth, there was no mistaking his talent.

An alternative-indie singer with a large dose of dirty blues thrown in, Smyth entranced the crowd from his first breath. He added to his dishevelled blues singer image a near-incomprehensible drawl between most songs. Supported only by himself on guitar and, frankly, a pretty hot drummer, Smyth’s voice and stage persona was strong enough to carry the show.

Despite a bit of feedback during the first song, the audience was on board with Smyth from the get-go. A Hopeless Feminist, a song about a night out on the town was a crowd favourite, Bar Made Blues highlighted the bluesey quality of his voice, as did his a Capella cover of Lead Belly’s blues classic Sylvie, which had the crowd providing backing percussion of stomping and clapping. He finished the set with drums and guitar, with No Man’s Land, before waltzing off stage.

The stage hand was pretty busy during the break between Smyth and Lanie Lane’s set, setting up a smoke machine (which had the front row coughing and hacking a bit), sugar skull lighting and little roses to decorate the stage before Lane and her band came on stage.

Lane and co finally came on to rousing applause from the sold-out crowd and opened with single What Do I Do?, and had the crowd singing and swaying along.

Despite her strong and bluesy drawl as she sings, Lane was very sweet and chatty on stage, and seemed to be very genuinely excited to be there; the set is peppered with anecdotes and little stories from her life. After playing My Man which, to put it bluntly, is a song about being sexually frustrated with your man, she mentioned that her boyfriend’s parents are in the crowd, but hurriedly pointed out “in no way, is that song about your son” before looking a bit sheepish after realising the implications of what she said.

Lane and her band looked like they were having a pretty good time on stage, ripping through tracks from her album To the Horses, and throwing in her Triple J Like a Version cover of The Black Keys’ Gold on the Ceiling.

The obvious favourites of the night were the singles Ain’t Hungry and the APRA award nominated and extensively- titled Oh Well, That’s What You Get For Falling in Love With a Cowboy;The fast-paced Betty Baby and Bang Bang had the crowd up and dancing too.

Finishing the set with the previously mentioned cowboy song (don’t make me type it out again!), the standard cheers for an encore were a fair bit louder and rowdier than usual, and Lane came back on stage solo and proceeded with the self-reflective ballad What Trouble Is before inviting the band back on stage and finishing with Don’t Cry, which, to the crowd’s delight, featuring snappy solos from bassist Zoe Hauptman and drummer Paul Derricott.

Lane and her band finished with a flourish and a “Thank you and Goodbye” to the crowd, before leaving the stage, presumably to party by the Merch desk, to which she had invited the audience earlier.