Ali E received a lot of attention from her first EP with her post-punk indie rock vibes. Listening to these dark and ominous tracks with a strong female voice behind them, you can't help being a little impressed that she started it all from solo recordings in her bedroom. Touring her second EP 'Creatures', she set up shop at the Shebeen to show Melbourne what she can do.
It was my first time attending a gig at the Shebeen Bandroom and for a moderately small venue it created a great atmosphere. Down a seedy stairway, through a door with no sign and into a room covered in a hazy blanket, it was the epitome of grunge. This turned out to be very suitable for Ali E's performance.
Before she took to stage Kinder, East Brunswick Girls Choir and Warmth Crashes In supported her. The latter of the three really caught my attention with heavy guitars that vibrated through your body and wavering lead locals that lingered in the air.
Ali E matched this, however, with a guitar that was nearly bigger than her and a classic rock and roll sound that is hard to come by these days. The room enclosed the sound and surrounded you in it. With a band behind her, the music was comprised of simple riffs and simple drums but it worked. The straightforward sound complemented her natural voice and kept the crowd intrigued for the night. What did add depth to the music was the violin that accompanied the band. Although it was sometimes hard to hear the violin over the guitars, it overall had a great affect on the songs, particularly 'We Are Strangers', and the set as a whole.
Another stand out song was 'Last Company’; in which Ali E chose to lose the band and gave us a striped back solo. Well, almost a solo, as two girls were invited to join her on stage to assist in backing vocals. The night ended on a few songs from her archives, which were a bit heavier than her recent stuff. Overall, the set did not stray too far from the one level, but it wasn't a bad level and she made it easy to just stand there and enjoy it.
Written by Jess Vaia