Review: Carla Geneve @ Stranded Bar (Brisbane)

Carla Geneve played Stranded Bar (Brisbane) on 25 April, 2024.
Tim is a Brisbane-based writer who loves noisy music, gorgeous pop, weird films, and ice cream.

"Did you just say you're having a good time?" Carla Geneve asked drummer Bryn Stanford.

After receiving a smile from Bryn in the affirmative, Carla turned to the crowd at Brisbane's Stranded Bar (25 April): "He's having a good time," she smiled as the crowd cheered.

The Western Australian singer-songwriter has been having a great time. Late last year, Carla released her second album, 'Hertz'. It's a fantastic album of introspective lyricism and rocking music, receiving well-deserved acclaim.

"We're gonna play the whole of 'Hertz' from beginning to end because we feel like it," she announced to the crowd, all cheering for the good time in store.

"Thank you," Trawlers frontman Sean Rogers told the crowd. "Can we also have another applause for Cameron for playing with a broken thumb? He did it on Friday and messaged to say, 'Hey, I might've f...ed up!'."

Sean signalled to the side of the stage where bassist Cam Ide-Cottle stood, his arm plastered down to his wrist with his thumb protruding out. Thankfully, his fingers were free, allowing him to pick out the basslines of the band's jangly slacker rock.

Wearing a floppy blue hat, Sean hopped around the stage shaking his gangly frame. His band mates smiled at the fun he had, and laughter came from the crowd enjoying his shenanigans.

After opening with stormy performances of 'Empty Stomach' and 'Yesterday's Clothes' – both from her 2019 debut EP – Carla Geneve and her band quietly shuffled into 'Hertz' opening track 'Growing Pains'.

The contrast between her past and present were on display, with the ragged guitars now hushed and drummer Bryn Stanford brushing his snares. However, what hasn't changed is Carla's way with a lyric – a talent she's had since releasing her debut single at the age of 18. 'The next day your tongue explores where the tooth once was,' is one such standout image she's captured beautifully with her words.

Carla and her band are a tight unit, perfectly performing the new album. Bassist Duncan Strachan and drummer Bryn provided a light rhythmic anchor for the songs, while guitarist Luke Dux moved from the nervy solo of 'Jesus Take The Wheel' to atmospheric textures and low rumbles of 'Play School'. "I'm so excited to hear Luke's playing on this song and you should be as well," Carla told the crowd before the latter song.

The band then left Carla alone onstage to perform solo. Alert and chatty – she puts this down to arriving in Brisbane from Perth the day before – she told the crowd about her favourite review of her song, 'Spilt Milk'. "My friend says ['Spilt Milk'] is so sad she saw a cockroach walk by and die [while playing it]," she laughed.

Carla gently picked her guitar strings, huskily whispering: "Even my guitar is tired of me." Fans in the crowd were overcome by the beauty she found in her melancholy, some resting their heads on their friend's shoulder and swaying together.

"Sorry, it's time for rock & roll," she announced. Carla's band returned to the stage, and a piercing squeal came from her amp as she stomped on a pedal. She snarled and howled the lyrics for closing track, 'Juliette', her blonde hair sweeping her shoulder as she unleashed a ragged solo.

She crouched at her amp, waving her guitar in front of it and conjuring feedback. Suddenly, she leapt back to her mic, unleashing a final howl before making her exit, making no apologies for the good times.

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