The Tea Party

The Tea Party

Inner Sydney’s stalwart of live music, The Enmore, gave fans of The Tea Party’s distinctive anthemic sound a commanding reminder of all that makes them such a cult icon. Touring after a 10 year hiatus, the Canadian trio proved consummate professionals as they took the psychedelically inspired stage to seduce and satisfy the audience who has had to wait a long time between drinks.

If The Tea Party didn’t write the formula for engaging crowds, then at the very least they buffed and waxed it to a dazzling shine.

Lead singer Jeff Martin manages to balance the classic sex appeal and charisma needed by a front man with a genuine sense of humility and at times, self deprecating humour rarely seen. Lines such as “I had this look before Johnny Depp did” had the crowd eating out the palm of Martin’s hand and his genuine honesty was reflected in the bands performance. Authentic and commanding, Martin woos listeners ever closer and takes them on an expedition into one of music’s immortal destinations.
Jeff Burrows on drums used all the tricks in the book to drive pulsing and fluid rhythm for the duration of the set while on bass and keyboard Stuart Chatwood completed the trio with a versatility and depth that often deceives listeners into believing they are a four or five piece. Kurt Cobain was once quoted as saying there is honesty in a three-piece band because there is “nowhere to hide”. Never does this ring more true than when drinking in the oozy liquid velvet sounds of the Canadian trio. It’s slick, polished and appears effortless from front of stage as Martin leads audiences further down a dark and twisted rabbit hole.

Martin’s flexibility and talent had him switching between a swathe of Gibson electrics, steel string acoustics, hand drums, sitar and even a Theremin which saw him ascend to the alter of rock god as the set wound on. The band reached deep into their back catalogue to harness classic fan favourites like “Psychopomp”, “Fire In The Head”, “Lullaby” and “Temptation”. Leaving no stone unturned as they roamed the annals of their body of work, The Tea Party cemented why they still command such a dedicated fan base. The decision to play new material to an ageing crowd was generously received with “The Black Sea” inspiring fans and new track “Water’s on Fire” invoking an audience led sing-a-long.

Any band that releases albums in the early 1990s would expect to see an older than your average crowd at their show and this event was true to form. It’s difficult to project future music tastes and even harder to predict which bands currently touring will stand the test of time, but it is a hallmark of The Tea Party that after such a long break between tours and even longer from the bands height of popularity, that they can still sell out shows at $90+ a ticket on a Wednesday night.

After a solid 11 song set, the trio retreated into the wings to illicit the genuine cries and moans of the crowd for further satisfaction. Front man Martin stepped into the breach and proceeded to whip the crowd into a frenzy with a slide guitar solo that was overflowing with Hendrix and Zeppelin DNA. It was in short, astonishing. Getting darker and deeper and climaxing with a mash up of “Sister Awake” and “Pulse”, The Tea Party satiated all thirsts as they filled listener’s cups until overflowing.

If you are lucky enough to see the Tea Party live on this tour, be left in no uncertain terms as to the dark, mystical and sensual experience you will be taken on. A band that not only lives up to the hype but surpasses expectations.
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