Bridezilla at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
“VALE, BRIDEZILLA” by Jack Colwell.
And so, the masses gathered to mark the end of an era.
Familiar faces that had made up the members of the Bridezilla family since the band formed in 2006 scattered the sold-out Oxford Art Factory in order to say farewell to the much loved Sydney quintet.
In true Bridezilla form, the stage was decked in lush plastic roses against a ‘lynchian’ red curtain draped across the back of the stage; always the invitation of sin and delight. Blue Velvet, eat your heart out.
For this reviewer, there definitely hung a bitter-sweet atmosphere in the air; excitement to see how they would perform after a two-year hiatus from the stage, and also perhaps a mix of angst that one of Sydney’s most loved homegrown heroes were deciding to call it a day after what had been a fruitful career thus far; it was perhaps inevitable though, as the press-release mentioned.
What began as a group of talented teenagers writing songs in-between sorting out their adolescent years, taking their High School Certificate exams and wearing school uniforms by day but playing to large audiences supporting bands such as Midlake, Interpol and The Temper Trap by night (just to name a few), it would be unfair to begrudge them (now at the very start of their adulthood) if they had mixed feelings about where they now stood together.
However, selling out the Oxford Art Factory is no mean feat. An achievement some high profile international acts struggle to achieve, and is testament to the fact that despite wishing us all the best on their farewell, Bridezilla as a group truly left their mark not just in the Sydney music community, but left a dent in Australian music history as a whole; You don’t get a 4/5 star review for a debut record in Rolling Stone magazine for nothing.
After many successful tours, Bridezilla helped close their final chapter with supports from Swimwear (Tim Derricourt, Dappled Cities), Cabins and Palms, plus a DJ set from Kirin J Callinan, all of whom they had met and worked with along the road. Cabins front man Leroy Bressington stood cold and steady as he serenaded the young women during his set with a solo number he wrote especially for them, while Palms kept the energy level at a peak, barreling through their set and keeping emotions running high to the clink of shot glasses and the sound of a few muffled tears settling in.
Finally, after all the thank-you’s and chatter had subsided, the curtain was drawn to reveal in place of five adolescents, five young adults. Still the same in many ways, all still dressed to the nine’s, but somehow more confident and carefree now that the weight of expectation had somehow been lifted from their shoulders. You could tell as the honey-dripped tones of Mister Young crept into the hall, that this was a band of musicians still very much on top of their game.
Like their debut album, The First Dance, Bridezilla presented their final show with the same melodrama, chaos and evocative nature their first outing was so revered for, showcasing their ever evolving songwriting skills as they played everything from their early hits Brown Paper Bag and Chainwork tinged with Holiday’s harrowing vocal performance, to later numbers only debuted in their last shows, Snakes and Ladders and Homewrecker; songs which were supposedly crafted towards a second album.
Ever proving their versatility (til the very end!) saxophonist Millie Hall traded places with lead singer Holiday Sidewinder in order to perform Bridezilla’s take on ‘Dream Pop’, with the mellow stand-alone single Hey Girl, “a telephone call reappropriated into a song”. Jumping back to her usual post on saxophone, the group resumed their positions playing through the gothic psychedelic renderings of Western Front, complete with a dizzying guitar solo from Pia May and the haunting lead of Tulley’s violin sounding like something Orpheus could’ve conjured himself.
As the set neared the end, the emotions began to show on the faces of Pia May, Daisy M Tulley, Millie Hall, Holiday Sidewinder and Joshua Bush (who had been hidden away at the back, but keeping meticulous timing and pace throughout on drums). All smiles to the last note, they played a spectacular rendition of Heart You Hold and what would be the last time they performed their famous raucous set closer, St Francine, together.
As the instruments were laid to rest and the wide-eyed members stepped forward to front of stage, the members of Bridezilla linked arms and took their final step of the waltz in what had been a truly memorable first, and final dance.
Goodnight Bridezilla, and thank you for the music.
Set list: Mister Young / Lunar Eclipse / Snakes & Ladders / Queen of Hearts / Beaches / Western Front / Brown Paper Bag / Chainwork / Homewrecker / Hey Girl // Heart You Hold / St Francine
After the curtain fell for the last time, we asked some of the band members for their abiding memories of their time in Bridezilla. Here’s what they told us:
REMEMBERING BRIDEZILLA – HOLIDAY SIDEWINDER (VOCALS/GUITAR)
“Spending a week, like children, choreographing and rehearsing the dance for Western Front. We filmed the clip with Justin Kurzel (SNOWTOWN) and his crew on my 18th birthday. We entered the stranger’s house in La Perouse, and didn’t meet any of the crowd until after we performed our ridiculous dance. The bunny-digging move in this still frame was a classic. We drank a whole bottle of Ballantine’s that night and Justin Cosby (Inertia) our A&R guy, brought us a box of Pomegranates. Good Times.”
REMEMBERING BRIDEZILLA – MILLIE HALL (SAXOPHONE)
“One of our first rehearsals, we were putting together one of our first songs, Mr Young, and we were rehearsing in my living room. At the time, I was making some tea for everyone, and when the kettle started to boil the kettle whistle started singing and it started with a really low note and then the pitch started going higher and higher (you know, like kettles do), and Daisy worked out how to imitate the kettle whistle on the violin and it became one of her parts in the song Mr Young.”
”Looking back on Bridezilla, we’ve had many great memories, from playing on a mountain top in Victoria– doing a backbend mid Chainwork and seeing a upside down handlebar moustache side of stage- Nick Cave was watching us play!– to embarking on our first international trip and all excited to board a Virgin flight to NY to play ATP with many of our favourite bands… Here’s a photo of our passports before we got the stamp of approval to enter the U.S.A!”