The crowd crammed themselves in the small space in front of the stage.
The rest of Brisbane’s The Foundry (24 May) was just as crowded, with little space for the sold-out crowd to move. Rather than discomfort, the air crackled with excitement for local musician Harriette Pilbeam, aka Hatchie. It’s an impressive feat for any artist, especially one who hasn’t released an album yet.
A month before her debut album’s release, Hatchie played to a home-town crowd craving a taste of what the future will bring.
A twin guitar roar introduced local shoegazers Start Together’s opening set. The two guitarists strummed fast in unison, the force of which shook their fringes. The duo stopped, and the buzzsaw noise was replaced by a cold rhythm from the band’s drummer and bassist.
Pool Shop singer Jaimee Fryer sheepishly greeted the crowd at the start of the local dream-pop group’s set. Jangly guitars and splashes wrapped themselves around her soft voice, snugly like a cardigan.
“Does anyone like to cry?” she asked the crowd before they covered Broken Social Scene’s ‘Anthems For A Seventeen-Year Old Girl’. They applied a gentle touch to the song’s building melodies, making it float lightly from the speakers.
As a member of indie bands Go Violets and Babaganouj, Harriette showed considerable skill in crafting strong melodies. With Hatchie, she has fully embraced pop music, especially the sweet melodies and massive production.
Drummer Richie Daniell slid his sticks across wind chimes hanging above him before a drum roll boomed, leading into the heavenly ‘Try’. Fans were overcome by the bright hook, forcing their arms up in the air, ecstatically waving to the beat.
“I’m really bad at banter, so I’m going to play some more songs now. Is that alright?” Harriette asked the crowd in a muffled voice, but the crowd responded with enthusiastic squeals.
Across her 2018 debut EP she whispered and sighed over bright guitars and glossy synths, so it was a surprise to hear the strong vocals she displayed live. Her softer vocals were there in ‘Sugar And Spice’ and worked magnificently, but as the chorus arrived her voice soared high above her fans, hitting sweet, high notes at the end of every lyric.
Songs from Hatchie’s upcoming album appeared throughout, many showing a strong electronic streak. ‘Her Own Heart’ stuck out in particular for its swooning slide guitar and slow, waltz rhythm that had the crowd mirroring Harriette’s swaying.
As the final bells rung on ‘Sure’, Harriette announced the live debut of recent single ‘Stay With Me’. “I don’t want to jinx it, but we’ve never played this song before. It’s really hard to sing,” she said. Drum machines pounded, synths echoed, and her voice was in fine form in the verses.
“Ready?” she asked the crowd seconds before the chorus, possibly fearful of hitting a wrong note. She stretched her voice, hitting the highest note perfectly every time.