SEEKER LOVER KEEPER
The Factory Theatre, October 17
Show, not tell. It’s cliched, yes, but it works. Works a treat for Seeker Lover Keeper
How do you make three individuals into a late-career trio free of ego but sparked by proximity and inspiration, and maybe a touch of competition? Is there any benefit of knowledge or wisdom to having lived as women and artists in Alan Jones/Bettina Arndt’s Australia, and survived? What do you need to do to top, or at least re-orientate for your continued interest, a debut album of superior pop?
And for the bonus round: what’s it like to be on stage with two of your best friends who not only get you but after spending weeks on the road with you, can predict your thoughts, and laugh at you when it happens?
For Holly Throsby, Sarah Blasko and Sally Seltmann - as arranged on stage, left to right, at keyboards and, for Throsby, acoustic and electric guitar as well – it’s easy. Just watch.
This was as relaxed a gig as you’re likely to find: full of banter and end-of-tour tales (including how a staff member at Narrabeen RSL earlier in the tour had muttered that the impending SLK show would be a “total titfest” – like that wouldn’t be a point of pride now), with long-running gags about a “bossy” Throsby and Seltmann just wanting some light to see what to program next.
But in the tightness of the voices, the harmonies and layers which album #2, Wild Seeds unveiled, and the quality of those vocal arrangements, it was all en pointe as much as on-brand.
With supporting musicians, Lawrence Pike on drums and James Hazelwood on bass added punch and groove – sometimes a little too much in this mix - this was how to be lush without excess and pretty without being sugary: the My Friend The Chocolate Cake-like bounce and back-and-forth of voices in Beautiful Mind a burst of quiet joy; the organ swell in Not Only I, warming; the flutter and hum behind Throsby’s lead voice in I’m An Island, a delicate pleasure.
It was all so naturally done that the potentially tricky move to play almost all of Wild Seeds before assaying anything from their 2011 debut barely registered until 45 minutes into the night when they played that album’s low-rumbling, spooky “theme song”. Did it matter? “There’s no chains like the ones you put on yourself,” as Blasko sang in Time To Myself, so, no.
And in the end we got the song that might not be their theme but is perhaps their signature, Even Though I’m A Woman, which irrespective of its antecedents (it’s written by Seltmann) sounds like the combination of Seltmann tune, with lyrics by Blasko, sung by Throsby.
Three into one? See, that’s how it’s done.