Downtime could cocoon you in its warm, tender sounds built from lazy, meandering guitars, bittersweet melodies and the honeyed tone of Elizabeth Mitchell’s gorgeous vocals. The album was reminiscent of the sentimentality attached to enduring a really sad summer, but unlike a lot of guitar pop acts, Totally Mild have always had a distinct character, their songs have a strong sense of narrative and emotional scope that make the four-piece so compelling.
‘Today Tonight’ is a sneak peak of the band’s sophomore album Her. Their appearance at Northcote Social Club was in commemoration of the single. Unsurprisingly, the occasion brought out a pack of amorous fans hoping to hear a new selection of songs from the upcoming record, as well as some well-known favourites.
Sui Zhen took the stage as main support. She delivered a hypnotizing performance accompanied by two bandmates, one recognisable from No Zu, who embellished her dreamy synth-laden soundscapes with rich saxophone outcries and backing vocals. Sui Zhen herself was a true vision, surrounded by pedals, synths, a drum machine and intermittently switching between bass and guitar. Her fans swooned at hearing songs like ‘Infinity Street’ and ‘Dear Teri’ from her 2015 record Secretly Susan. She tested out some new colourful works that the crowd had no trouble dancing to.
The bandroom was packed by the time Totally Mild graced the evening. Mitchell wore the same red dress as in the single’s recently released music video, that she revealed was made by her mum. The four-piece soared through a flawless set. What really stood out about the band live was how polished and note-for-note they are, which is of course testament to their skill and confidence as musicians.
Their renditions of songs like ‘Nights’, ‘More’ and ‘When I’m Tired’ weren’t so dissimilar to how they sound recorded. Still, it was really special to hear the songs in the flesh, Mitchell’s sparkling voice glided effortlessly as she strummed stoically on her guitar. An unexpected highlight of the night arrived when Mitchell coyly announced, “We’re going to play a little treat now, you don’t know what that means…we’re going to play a cover.” Within the first few moments, punters cheer in satisfaction upon hearing the familiar chords of ‘Wicked Game’ by Chris Isaak. The cover fit so well in their set that it sounded like the song could’ve been written by the band themselves.
By the sound of a few glimpses of their forthcoming album, and the support that they were showered with from a devoted fan base, it seems pretty safe to say that Totally Mild will make 2018 their best year yet.
Highlight: Mitchell talking about Cats the Musical.
Lowlight: Four support bands didn’t seem to be working in anyone’s favour.
Crowd Favourite: The reason for the show in the first place; ‘Today Tonight’.