Pure punch and raw attitude: Carla Geneve is a live act you need to see

I’d been hearing things about Carla Geneve. Her 2018 breakout hit Greg’s Discount Chemist had sent tongues into a furor and after talk of some notable festival appearances plus a stacked Bigsound showcase, I realised I had to see this girl in action.

So her latest east coast tour arrived with impeccable timing. Fresh single 2001 is yet another stunning account of the Perth musician’s ineffable ability to create lyrically vivid scenes of nostalgia and mundanity. I was itching to watch it all come alive in the intimate nook of Waywards.

carla geneve happy mag the bank hotel waywards
Photos: Dani Hansen

Ever since her debut single, Carla Geneve has sent fans and industry alike into a furor. Between the intimate walls of Waywards in Sydney, she showed us all why.

Opening what was shaping up to be a stellar night was another promising act I’d been hearing about on the back-burner. Sydney singer/songwriter Dominic Breen has been busy drip-feeding his catalogue after keeping a perplexingly low profile over the last few years.

Tonight the multi-instrumentalist is out in poised force, flanked by a full band he affectionately refers to as “The Breen Scene”.

Like Geneve, Breen possesses the understated ability to translate life in a poignantly endearing way. Sunny optimism laced with wistful realism, penned to guitars and harmonica, Breen’s music falls into the backyard Australiana that’s flourishing in the bedrooms and garages of Sydney’s inner west.

Each track was prefaced by some somber yet charming anecdote and then brought to life by Breen’s distinctive drawl that arguably recalls an early Bob Dylan. Pretty captivating stuff. I’ve exhausted his online catalogue a few times over, so listening to the new material performed live was like a breath of fresh air.

Considering the stage substantially warmed, Geneve wasted no time in getting to work. She is 19 years old and has only been doing the rounds as a musician for a short time, but the depth of her sound is seasoned beyond her years.

It’s the confluence of her yearning guitar arrangements, sweeping melodic vocals and the sheer skill with which she executes both that packs one hell of a punch.

She’s joined on stage by her bassist and drummer, who keep a tight and present form throughout. Geneve exudes a frankness that draws parallels to contemporary counterparts Stella Donnelly and Courtney Barnett, but it’s her brand of raw attitude that could only be born out of as far reaching a place as Albany, WA.

I’m routinely in awe of the creative energy that’s thriving out west, and Geneve is undoubtedly the epitome of this right now.