by Mark Anthony Brennan

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Photo by Sean Brennan

The 9One9 Club in Victoria was abuzz with anticipation Saturday night (August 9th) as both Noah Edwards and Isobel Trigger were set to debut their new CD’s, and Jesse Roper was invited along to join in the festivities.

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Roper kicked off the evening playing solo, i.e. without his backup band The Roper Show. The beach-bum-in-residence played an impressively rousing set considering there was just him, his guitar and the box he was sitting on, which he pounded in rhythm with a foot pedal. One highlight was “Dueling Banjos” (from the movie ‘Deliverance’) in which Roper duelled with himself. Another was the stompin’ closer “Yukon Girl”, a fan favourite.

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Next up was Noah Edwards fronting a highly talented group including drummer (Mike Battle), bassist (Jonathan Graves), a guitarist, a trumpet player and Anna Frances providing both backup and co-lead vocals. They played all four tracks from the new CD (simply titled “Noah Edwards”) plus some older material. The songs fell primarily into the indie folk rock genre but also included elements of country, blues and a touch of psychedelia. In their stirring finale they were joined onstage by about a dozen friends, including Jesse Roper and Isobel Trigger’s Felicia Harding.

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Photo by Sean Brennan

Speaking of which, Harding and her bandmates then finally hit the stage and proceeded to knock everyone right off their feet. Their high-octane delivery of rock guitar infused electropop was greatly enhanced by some eye-popping back-lighting and a laser light show. The focal point of their performance was Harding’s irresistible persona, but this is by no means a one man (or woman) show. Guitarist Brett Faulkner constantly amazed with his virtuosity and versatility, all the while providing the essential texture to the band’s sound. Kyle Lowther’s signature bassline played high in the mix, and for good reason. At one point he leaned forward, almost towering over the crowd, as his throbbing bass took centre stage. And then there is drummer Ariel Tseng, who is simply a phenomenon all to herself. Her unpredictable beats kept the entire affair delightfully off kilter, and when she stood up, drumsticks aloft, pounding her kit with only a foot pedal she had us breathlessly waiting for her to drop the hammer – and when she did it brought on goosebumps.

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Photo by Sean Brennan

The band attacked their material with a ferocity that steadily built as the set went on. By the time they reached the finale, the trippy “Dust and Bones”, they damn well blew the dust clean off the bones of the recorded original. But they weren’t done yet. The band re-emerged for an encore – a kick-in-the-balls medley of “Whole Lotta Love”/”Seven Nation Army”/”Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” which sent the already grateful crowd into absolute delirium.

Without a doubt, Isobel Trigger have to be experienced live to be fully appreciated. My ears are still ringing, but I don’t mind.