Paris Wells @ The Toff in Town, Melbourne (21/09/2010)

Paris Wells likes to dabble in different scenes – she’s done the DJ thing singing with the help of Thief, touched down in hip hop with performances alongside Bliss N Eso, and she’s even funked up AC/DC on the back of a flatbed truck (along with some killer choreography), amongst a bevy of other ticks on her extensive resume. You can’t say she wasn’t in her element for these appearances either, because it’s become impossible to place what her element is. Having said that, though, it’s impossible to deny that the theatrette setting of Melbourne’s Toff is ideal for tunes of our hometown singer.

Playing two shows in Melbourne in support of her upcoming sophomore release, Various Small Fires, Wells performed an early set of selections from said release, showcasing the shows to come and, obviously, the sounds of the record. Decked in retro glam complete with quiff, and joined by her full band, Wells presented herself with the A grade class she always brings to the stage and delivered a strong, short set of new tracks.

The first of these was the new album’s title number, with its initial subtlety proving deceptive when backed up by the following tunes. Various Small Fires showed Wells at her essence, the minimalist accompaniment only emphasising her vocal and proving quite the memorable addition.

Stomping percussion and piano then began the charge with Believe In Me, and the band began to show their upbeat character as Wells loosened up and began to get her groove on. Let’s Get It Started followed in a similarly positive fashion, with Wells upping the ante and practically delving into lyrical rap – an act she’s proven more than capable of in the past, with tonight no exception.

“Oh, I think Rebecca Twigley is pregnant,” led the bold and cheeky Jenny, a number unlike any of Wells’ other material and one that could well be a staple this summer if given the right amount of attention. The track is buoyant pop to a tee and saw Wells busting moves all over the stage – proving that by all definitions she’s one hell of a performer.

Latest single Through and Through rounded things out, and brought the sound back to a more soulful vibe, perhaps the most fitting to stand alongside Wells’ older material. This was another high-spirited jaunt that demonstrated a singer clearly loving her job; the kind of presence that can only influence an audience to feel equally positive.

Various Small Fires just might bring Paris Wells into a more dominant light in the coming months, and if this small showcase was anything to go by then she damn well deserves it.