Mane @ Brighton Up Bar, Sydney NSW Australia 02/11/2017 written by Brendan Lewis
Welcome to the House Of Horror, where the warden of this haunted dwelling is electronic blues-pop singer Paige Court, a.k.a, Mane. Mane takes us on a tour of this haunted house in celebration of her latest single ‘What If The Love Dies’, which follows her mystifying ‘House Of Horror’ EP. When I interviewed Paige in September, she said she’s been told that in her performance she’s like a witch casting a spell, so let’s see if her performance does indeed leave us all spellbound…..
As we step inside the horror-filled house, we are greeted by Paige and her henchmen (band) on guitar and drums, opening the show with a harmonious aura-like attention grabbing intro, leading into the first stop on this tour, fitting for the theme track ‘House Of Horror’. This song brings Paige’s hauntingly beautiful voice and her enchanting performance to go with it straight away, with her accentuating and improvising some high notes and jumping up and down excitedly to the beat on the tiny little stage to, once the chorus hits after a power-emphasising guitar build up leading into it. As Paige sings beautifully, the sound is clear and even, and her hand gestures and arm waving are enigmatic and mystifying which is starting to leave her audience entranced.
Paige now thanks us all and talks briefly, before casting the next spell ‘Bones’ followed by ‘Ashes To The River’. The first of which brings a funky tantalising feel to it, which is an appropriate contrast from the previous darkly enticing essence of ‘House Of Horror’. Paige’s voice is powerful and sharp even as she rocks out and jumps around like an excited witch who just brewed the perfect potion, but it’s starting to get a little muffled by her guitarist’s wicked guitar solo in the songs’ bridge, never the less, the audience is still fixated on Paige’s every word as the crowd attempts to mimic Paige’s captivating dance moves. Paige now shares her excitement with a confident yet casual bubbly chat before ‘Ashes To The River’. This song brings a deeper raw emotional feel to it which displays diversity and maturity in Paige’s songwriting, but even with the toning down of the casted energy, she still manages to keep the expressive hand/arm movements plus bubbly excitement going with a few ecstatic “WEW!”s which were occasionally present in the prior two songs.
For a supposed witch, Paige is very sweet and bubbly like a rich Champagne, oh wait hang on, I’m in Australia so I’m only technically allowed to call it “bubbly”. Where was I?, Oh yes, Paige is definitely the nicest witch I’ve ever encountered and believe me, I’ve encountered a lot! After Paige thanks us yet again, she takes us through the story of this next song ‘Save Yourself’ which is followed by ‘In My Mind’. The first chapter of the two, demonstrates more raw emotion and powerful sharp vocals with Paige excitedly jumping up and down not being able to contain her euphoria, plus more “WEW!”s scattered throughout the song. The out-bursts of excitement in the form of wew’s are great to snap up any wandering attention, but on the contrary, I’m starting to feel like it might be too frequently littered throughout the set. The next corridor of this mystical lair, strips back the layers of sound as Paige further entrances us with an acoustic track, bestowing upon us the full un-tarnished soulful beauty of her voice, carried with just the right amount of reverb.
The next song brings the energy back up nicely, with a dark, sexy blues vibe which with the addition of some notably cool guitar riffs, brings an affirmative response from the audience. Oh dear Lucifer that is amusing! There’s a guy near me who is surely a wee-bit drunk, and he’s spilling his body and flailing around in a dance-like manner which is hilariously out of place as everyone else is, well, not.
Paige now parts with her guitar/bass for the final three ingredients to this recipe, ‘Change For Love’ ‘Chasing Butterflies’ and finally touring track ‘What If The Love Dies’. With the absence of her guitar, Paige is really able to unleash her full spell-casting performance as she expresses the music and lyrics in charismatic dance moves. Surprisingly, the loss of Paige’s guitar/bass doesn’t leave a gaping gap in the sound, it’s still full and flavoursome, however with Lewis on guitar adding wild riffs and hooks to the sound, it does make it hard to hear Paige’s stunning voice sadly. Paige does make up for the loss of verbal clarity with her beaming energy as she races around the stage throwing more “WEW”s here and there, and I’m actually quite surprised she hasn’t tripped over any leads on this tiny stage while she dashes around excitedly. Now it seems we’ve reached the peak of this house of horror, all the ingredients have been added to the cauldron except this last one. Paige tells us the story of this song before leading into a mist of harmony as she sings the chorus of the song as an alternate intro before the guitar riff takes hold. Paige goes wild with excitement with lots of “WEW”s which yep, are a little over-used, but never mind, the way she scurries around the stage between her dances and the three of them on stage all building up suspensefully leading into the final chorus, completes the spell brilliantly!
Encore? …..but what about the anthem I’ve been waiting for ‘Bitter’? Sadly no, that’s all folks, Paige did explain after, that ‘Bitter’ was intended to be the encore, but she noticed people starting to leave after ‘What If The Love Dies' so she scrapped it.
I’m very impressed with the high-quality performance and exceptional, soulful sound Mane brings at such a young stage in her career! Watch out Meg Mac and Vera Blue, because Mane brings a stellar performance and is surely heading in the right direction and quickly!