Reviewed on Thursday February 13

On its own Galentine’s Day, Brighton Up Bar delivered a stellar local lineup of (mostly) ladies. The three gals of Video Set (formerly Salta) played a mix of old and new, hinting at what we can expect from their upcoming EP. ‘Tiger’ was all clear harmonies that recalled First Aid Kit, but with lyrics and an electric bass that kept things a little more gritty. A stripped-back cover of Fiona Apple’s ‘Extraordinary Machine’ was a highlight, as was new track ‘Big Red Sun’.

The all-girl ‘Dixie folk’ group All Our Exes Live In Texas (“We each have five ex-husbands that we’ve left behind in Texas”) took the stage with an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, a ukulele and a piano accordion. The band was chatty and joking around and it seemed they were having a great time – or at least, better than the last time they played together at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. “Tamworth is musical hell,” they said, which was countered with “Tamworth is everything hell!” The set also included a live demonstration of the latest instrument (invented by Elana Stone) during ‘Hawaiian Nose Guitar’, and the very catchy ‘Hotel Yorba’ that showed off the band’s four-part harmonies while the crowd clapped along enthusiastically.

By the time Achoo! Bless You took the stage, Brighton Up felt like the lounge room of a mate’s house party – there was cheering, stomping and beer bottles lifted in salute as Ash Steel and Ross James Tipper arrived. Their chemistry and conversational harmonies were sweetly complementary, with Steel flitting from glockenspiel to ukulele and harmonica while Tipper held things together on guitar. The expanded band joined them for ‘Before We Say Goodbye’, then the duo slowed things down with ballad ‘The City’ and their “saddest” song, the mournful ‘Your Hand In Mine’. After a sweet cover of Rilo Kiley’s ‘Silver Lining’ the stomping and raucous singing along was back for ‘The Necessary Space’ before descending to crazy-dancing levels for new single ‘Wild Eyes’, which combined tambourine, fiddle and more boy-girl harmonies, making for a fun and memorable end to the night.

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