The Preatures prowled into The Cambridge Hotel on Friday 2nd October as part of their national ‘Cruel’ Tour, ready to sling their signature grit to a sold out crowd. And, if there’s one thing to be said about this show, it’s that enigmatic front-women ruled the night.
Isabella Manfredi of The Preatures is known for her commanding stage presence; throwing her tiny frame around the stage, sweet and melodic one minute, howling and wild the next. I’d even go so far as to say she is one of – if not, the – best front-woman in Australia’s music scene right now.
But, the match-made-in-heaven support act, Low Lux, produced an unexpected, yet striking, addition to the female front. Daisy Dowd seems an unlikely front-woman at first, appearing quite timid as she walks on stage with her face hidden behind her baseball cap.
The Sydney 5-piece dove into their first song, and Daisy immediately came to life; moving lithely and snakelike across the stage to their synth-driven set – it was hard not to be drawn to her. Not only did Daisy nail a magnetic stage presence, but she shredded on a few impressive violin solos too.
The crowd began to pile into the room towards the end of Low Lux’s set, scoping out prime positions for the much-anticipated headliner. The air in The Cambridge became what can only be described as a ‘sweaty meat cloud’. So dense, so very dense. But hey, that’s what a sold-out atmosphere is all about.
The Preatures sauntered on stage to a thunderous applause, and what felt like a collective swoon over Isabella’s presence. Male, female, whatever your preference, it’s hard not to develop a huge girl-crush on this woman. She is an icon.
The set kicks off with Somebody’s Talkin’, Manic Baby, and Ordinary, showcasing Isabella’s sweeter, more pop-inclined style of vocals. But in an instant, she switches to a razor-blade growl for the harsher sounds of It Gets Better, and Rock And Roll Rave.
This is a band that flows seamlessly off each other, offering quite a clean and polished performance for a rock act. While the guys drive the rhythm, Isabella brings the grit, prowling the stage and playing off her doe-eyed innocence in one swift sinister glance.
The set reached a natural peak with Is This How You Feel?, the song that arguably catapulted The Preatures into the spotlight just two years ago. By the bouncing, limbs-flailing response from the crowd, it’s still a definite favourite.
A gravelly cover of The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? has become a standard in The Preatures’ live shows, but Newcastle may have (finally) heard the last of it, with the band announcing they’ll be ‘retiring’ the song after this tour. Probably a smart move, I think this song has well and truly had its day in the sun… Although, this crowd still gave a very enthusiastic “No way! Get f*cked! F*ck off!” call back.
Finishing on Cruel and an encore of Take A Card, Isabella leaned into the crowd almost menacingly, and was met with a chorus of screams and a sea of outstretched hands.
The Preatures ended their set the way any fully-loaded live show should end – sweat-drenched, worn-out, and totally spent. If you weren’t already a devoted Preatures follower, this show certainly would have had you converted.