Live Review and Gallery: Charlie Needs Braces – MONA Lawns, nipaluna/Hobart, 18.03.2023

Feature Photograph: Arun Kendall

Having just released the searingly brilliant debut album ‘Saltwater People’, Charlie Needs Braces (the solo effort of Charlie Woods) is embarking on an ambitious Australia wide tour, bringing an incandescent ray of sunshine wherever she (and her sister) goes.

Playing in the afternoon sun (albeit intermittent and not so warm – it is the southern edge of the world after all) at the magnificent Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Charlie and her sister Miri made sure the audience were bathed in the joyous warmth of her music and amusing and endearing banter. They covered the album with perfection – a miraculous indication of Woods’s adept skills with a looper as she created layers of percussion, trumpet, trombone and vocals over which the sisters sang the anthemic melodies.

A delightful cover of Sweet Dreams with a wild trumpet solo added to the set list.

Details of the tour are below – make sure you get the album and go and see this joyful experience live. Congratulations are in order for the scope and reach of this tour (with two more gigs in Hobart over the weekend) and the sheer optimism and enthusiasm that seeped through every note on stage.

Having always played on other people’s albums and in bands for years, Woods really wanted to make her own album. Something that always meant a lot to her and inspired by a few things over the past few years that led her to finally create her own the album ‘Saltwater People’:

I wanted to celebrate my Aboriginal background, and involve language, tell stories about my mobs culture and traditions in the lyrics and mood of the songs. I also got braces in 2020 and thought it’d be funny to call it ‘Charlie Needs Braces’ and record my teeth movement as they changed and evolved into shape. I feel like the album and my teeth’s journey started at the same time and developed and evolved together, and funnily enough, I finished the album at the same time as I got my braces and plastic plates off haha.

Woods performs regularly with The Teskey Brothers, Gang of Youths, The Seven Ups, TEK TEK Ensemble’, and ‘WVR BABY’, and her professionalism and musicianship is clear on stage. You can catch her and her sister at a venue near you:

You can get the album through the link below. I’ve said of her music that Woods has created such a unique palette upon which she crafts her art: a vivacious, sibilant, hyper energetic sonic world that has an azure blue aquatic quality about it. Deeply connected to the land of her First Nations people, the music and the words are filled with evocative imagery and an ugent restless movement, a soundscape filled with an exuberance and unexpected whoops and cries, organic and flowing.

Feature Photograph: Arun Kendall

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