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I am super pleased to be able to introduce Greenwave Beth, a new dance-pop side project coming from the loveable Charles Rushforth and Will Blackburn of Sydney band Flowertruck. The band name comes from a misheard lyric from a song by the Brazilian tropicalia artist, Caetano Veloso.
Charles and Will from Flowertruck push their craft with Greenwave Beth. A project that embraces the rambling mond of the 20-something and a great live show.
If you thought you’d danced hard at a Flowertruck gig, just wait until you check out these guys live. I swear I shoulder danced so much I ached the next day… and I wish I had been wearing shoulder pads so I could have really made the most of it.
It’s always interesting when people in bands start a side project as it seems to be an expression of something that hasn’t or can’t be channeled through previous work – Charles says that whilst Flowertruck is still about finding hope and life in things and vocalizing those niggles that talk in your ear at night, Greenwave is a lot less subtle. “Greenwave doesn’t really have any rules and there’s a really big commitment to the emotional elements of the songs”.
When focusing on the lyrics they strike me as a bit of a paradox, one minute I’m sure the song is happy and I’m dancing and the next, I’m still dancing but there is a kind of overwhelming sadness and Charles agrees with me on this: “Yeah, emotionally it’s really manic; there are some super sad moments that are followed by ecstatic happy bits. There’s that jarring sensation, it’s like ‘should I be dancing to this?”
Broadway is the real standout track from the boys’ new demo selection. It’s a purposefully low-fi bedroom sound, a grainy recording, wholly evocative and nostalgic with distorted synths and vocals. It’s an ode to chopsticks and Chinese takeaway on the city’s main drag, which is littered with fast food outlets, grimey university pubs and late night convenience stores. The lyrics reflect a realist and upfront look at how we young 20-somethings roll through their weeks: “Everyone’s taken second jobs and internships that don’t pay, casual hours of intimacy”.
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It’s nice to listen to and reflect on your own life with pizza in hand. It’s a mash up of lyrics that are at one moment profound and the next just a running commentary on what fast food to order (“I could get Maccas or I could get Chinese takeaway”) and it’s the clash that keeps you hooked because of how much you can relate to the erratic nature of your thoughts. Like, one minute you’re thinking about your career and your future and the next you’re obsessing over which Instagram caption to go with… the majority of their lyrics definitely can be defined as coming-of-age.
It’s clear that stage presence and appearance is a massively important factor to a Greenwave Beth performance. The boys seem to be opting for an all-white costume ensemble, self-consciously reflecting how new the project is and how the boys are trying to treat their performance with a sense of purity. It’s all very minimalist and virginal, but Charles wants to be clear that their style evolution is nowhere near close to the end; “We’re still experimenting with how we portray ourselves”.
This mentality comes through when watching the frontman do his thing on stage. Charles belts out lyrics as if in a trance and says that when performing with Greenwave Beth it’s an attempt to really forget himself. Charles sums it all up by telling me that; “One of my favourite actors is this guy Klaus Kinski and he said for any performance to be true or real, the actor has to try and destroy every sense of himself on stage, so I guess I try to do that in little ways. It ends up creating a really malleable live show because we’re always trying to change things and experiment with the material we have”.
Drummer Will Blackburn says of the band’s style that “It’s more focused on emulating electronic, programmed beats, but performed live. And we get to use heaps more fruity noises!” And it’s those fruity noises that we love to dance to whenever we are lucky enough to be able to see the boys play live. It seems that with Greenwave Beth, there is method to the madness and there is a lot going on inside Charles’ on-stage self. His performances are as much free and unpredictable as they are carefully constructed. Whilst Greenwave Beth are great to listen to, it’s their live performance that is really what transforms them into much more than music and more into a piece of live performance art.
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