You’re glued to his picture on the dating app. He exhibits a supremely carved face and it looks meditatively away from your falling stare. His tan encases the sensuality of a slender physique. Even within the dimension contained beneath your screen, he glows.
Your fingers instinctively do the work. He gives you an affirmative response and messages sprout from a seed of doubt and a hopeful plea. It’s jarring at first, but politeness soon gives way to flirtation and added affection.
Then there’s days of the week being discussed and places you ought to meet. He picks somewhere you’ve been before, a low-key choice that eases apprehension. Even when you’re on your way, there’s a sense of relaxation about meeting this neglector of good grammar, spelling, and fine choices of first places to meet.
It doesn’t start well. You lean in for a kiss on the cheek and he instinctively flinches. They always do, if they’re scared; if deep down they’re frightened of who they are. Unknowingly, his actions are characteristic of the relationship due to unfold. You sense the hesitance but recover anyway. You’ve done this meeting so many times before and auto-piloted talk always brings you back into line.
Later in the night he tells you he’s religious. You blow it off. It’s not important. He’s attractive and you’re lonely, and the weather is only getting colder. But cut to ten weeks later, you’re at the museum together and it’s the only topic your mind cares to think of.
You’re standing side by side, sharing your hands to swipe through an electronic timeline of the planet’s evolution. The numbers and pictures advise what you already know and believe is true, but he doesn’t agree.
“Yeah, but where does Adam and Eve fit into this?”
You can’t recover from his words. You’re too angry.
You move into a room full of taxidermy, the animals are shelved to the ceiling and you feel surrounded with a measure of liveliness relative to the relationship you’re now in. The sham eyes of dead beasts peer down at you with pity. Their deathliness reminds you of when you nestled together in a café, on a couch upholstered in jumpers. It was where you first heard his story of the lamb’s slaughtering, the one sacrificed before his innocent eyes in the name of God. He was only young when it happened but you still leant your knees in the other direction.
Now you’re seated together on a surface as inflexible as the enclosing reality. You struggle to see a way out, or whether you even want to seek the exit. You’ve never been the one to call things off. Your pros and cons list written the night before said there’s more good than bad. Maybe it could work out. The way you shared a laugh over throwing flowers at the passing traffic felt euphoric, but the fundamental differences seem to trump the potential for more fun.
You take a side-glance at him peering up at the science that surrounds. You think to yourself, what an idiot, I bet he’s denying all this information to be true. But then you notice how beautiful he is. He looks like everything you’ve ever wanted but stands for everything you’ve ever hated. He treats you right but his beliefs feel so wrong.
A few hours after leaving the museum, you’re on the end of his bed and he gives you a crestfallen look.
“You’re conflicted, aren’t you?” he says.
“Yeah, I am.”
“Do you want to just be friends?”
Without thinking, you know what to say.
He becomes sullen at first sight and you don’t know whether to leave or stay. You want to stay. You want to hug him and tell him you’re so, so sorry, because you are, and he’s only been very good to you.
He doesn’t want your hug, though. So you close the door to his bedroom and let yourself out. It’s as your steps take you away that you realise, you’ve just judged someone for something that usually entitles someone else to judge you. You’ve just rejected someone for something that other people in your life have always used as a means to reject you.
Had you Googled “Nussy”, prior to her gig at the Workers Club, you could’ve made comparisons between her and the heavyweight champion of euro-pop, Robyn. Nussy’s blond crop, iridescent sound and quirky presentation just easily leads one on that train of thought. Ironically, Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’ played as Nussy was first spotted on stage, refining her setup.
The Melbourne local is obviously influenced by the mega-Swede, even without checking her dedicated-to-Robyn-Instagram-posts. This isn’t a bad thing; her inspiration comes from a great place. It’s especially not a bad thing, when you still prove authenticity as a performer. Nussy certainly did that, in front of a close to capacity audience, last Thursday night.
The essence of euro-pop was intensified with fairy-light trimmings and a disco ball that cast its shimmer across the room. Further pizazz came via Nussy’s reappearance on stage, wearing a sequined two-piece by Discount Universe, and inflatable balls, designed to explode with confetti, that were launched into the crowd. The balls were a fun addition to Nussy’s mini spectacle, but soon became a testing distraction as they didn’t seem to pop and were still darting around by the time she tried to sing a ballad.
The lunar sounding polish and sheen of Nussy’s lead single and show opener, ‘Dizzy’, stirred the crowd into focus with the singer’s pixie-pitched vocals. Her voice was soon downcast into brassier terrain by the second number, which segued into a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’. Further covers were aptly done with a rendition of ‘Young Blood’ by The Naked and Famous, as well as ‘1901’ by Phoenix, performed as an encore. These tracks blended well with all songs performed from her self-titled EP.
Seeing Nussy live can rid the perception one might understandably have of her, that she is all pop-sugar and electronic-spice, born of the DIY era of the Internet-star. The reality is, in a live format, she is a more wholesome presence with instrumental strength. There were moments when she played keys and her backing band of four gents created engaging, preservative free sounds that were undoubtedly appreciated by all in attendance.
Nussy was recognisably thrilled to see an overcrowded venue before her. It was a special occasion, for an artist transitioning into recognition, and for us, the audience, to gain recognition of an artist worth knowing.
For someone who has their reputation shelved high in the echelons of fashion (she has walked for Marc Jacobs), the vision of Sky Ferreira, on stage at the Prince Bandroom last Wednesday night, rejected most designer aesthetics one could imagine.
Sky confessed she didn’t know it was going to be so cold here (she’d only landed that day, flying in from the UK); perhaps the reason she wore a slouchy jumper and beanie, or maybe because she simply wanted to. After all, Sky Ferreira’s appeal is in her effortless cool.
Her stage presence was glassy eyed and she moved at a jet-lagged pace, but all the haze surrounding her appearance contrasted with the stark beauty of her well-carved face and wide-set eyes. You could detect the model in the musician when she unabashedly leant into cameras held by fans in the front row.
Much of Sky’s writing is from a girlish perspective; perhaps the reason she’s admitted not many men “get” her music. Yet, if that’s the case, she may have to reconsider that point of view, as the near capacity crowd was healthily gender mixed; as well as vocal and generous. “Can I show you my tits?” one fan catcalled, as others in the front row exuded enthusiasm and gifted her sunglasses to try on.
Sky’s set-list didn’t venture beyond her debut LP ‘Night Time, My Time’. A setback, considering gems hidden on her ‘Ghost’ EP, yet songs chosen were done so with killer heart and an air of starry-eyed tragedy. The opener ’24 Hours’ is the perfect theme to an edgy, 90s teen romance. The lyrics, “There’s no tomorrow without you”, harrowed through the dark of the venue.
There’s ripeness in Sky’s voice; it’s worn in, like an artist twice her age; and it’s what glues you to her presence, despite its shambles and moments of awkwardness. Half way through the driving ode to the Japanese underground, ‘Omanko’, Sky demanded, with a bashful air, “We’re doing that again, because I couldn’t hear shit”, feedback issues were evident. She resurrected the song with added willpower. She was obviously weary but determined to give back to an audience that gave so much.
Sky concluded her main set with the near perfect ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’, before returning, due to the need of the crowd that chanted, “BLAME MYSELF. BLAME MYSELF!” They weren’t going to let her disappear, not without hearing her latest single. Sky obliged, she sang ‘I Blame Myself’ on the condition that the crowd aid her weakness by singing the chorus. They more than filled out the deficit in her voice.
On the whole, Sky managed to triumph over her exhaustion, even if there were moments when her music was more powerful than her; pleasing an audience that energised her when she needed it most.