There are a couple of things I need to point out at the beginning of this review:
1) The Liberty Social is a venue that is really pulling out the big guns when it comes to interesting music in the Aussie town of Melbourne. Over the past month I feel like I have been drawn to this venue most weeks and I am still seeing truly innovative and creative artists doing their entirely unexpected thing. Also, their PA gives good bass.
I cannot tell you how important that is to me. I want to feel that physical push against my rib-cage. I want vibrate like the creepy guy from Death In Vegas’ Aisha. If the venue were a person, it would be my new best buddy that keeps on introducing me to new, attractive and talented friends. I would probably kiss its slightly disheveled face.
2) The kids at Grouse Party live up to their name. (For the American readers out there who just imagined a venue full of small pheasants, I hate to break up the hilarity of that vision. Grouse is colloquial Australian term for some thing that is good. Like Rad, Awesome and Amazeballs.)
They are also possibly some of the most shambolic fashionistas I have ever seen. It is a space that embraces the weird, the wild and the clashy -and it works. Grouse creates a space where you can just be who you are. Let it all hang out without any form of judgment. It doesn’t matter. Just let the good times roll; Possibly clutching a stubby and wearing a particularly rude pair of shorts.
Romy I have seen before but only doing DJ sets which has lead to me bending her ear about a certain Sexual Harassment record that I was pretty certain I was the only person in Australia to own. When I hear stuff that isn’t the usual fair I invariably find myself inadvertently flailing my way right up to the DJ booth, gushing wildly to a kindred spirit.
At least that’s what I feel inside, the poor DJ is probably thinking ‘Oh look, a crazy drunk chick. I should quickly hide that record’.
Anyway, the girl has taste. So it’s good to know that she can also step out from behind the booth and perform her own sounds, which were actually reminiscent of EBM in some respects but with hints of 90’s rave culture and simple soaring vocals.
An added layer to her performance was her engaging stage persona. She moved with a kind of elegant attitude among her equipment. I feel like it is sometimes a little awkward for electronics artists to move about without appearing self-conscious, but Romy was rightly confident and self-assured.
Having seen Roland Tings before, I was sorry to not see him as immersed in the crowd as his first performance. Maybe it was this lack of immediate or intimate and inclusive contact with the audience that made it seem like a slightly lesser experience.
His hot beat formulated in a house/Detroit techno homage certainly suited the five-day-heatwave temperature. Maybe it was the exhaustion that comes with too many overpowering hot nights affecting the performance of Rohan Newman, the man behind Roland Tings. Whatever it was, there was a lacking presence from his usual performance that left some of the audience members unenthused until he reached a crescendo in the last moments of his set.
I am going to take a moment to talk about the guy who kicked off the evening, as well as playing in between each of the sets. DJ AIR MAX ’97 was really bloody amazing. His selection of tracks was eclectic and motivated the crowd to move. For instance he played a wacky mash up of Darude and Rammstein towards the end of the night that was not as incongruous as it sounds, initially soliciting shock but which soon had us dancing.
He consistently got the dance floor going; he read the crowd and picked me up every time I felt like I was starting to lag. The crowd pumped and gyrated and was subtly trying their hardest to be on stage with the artists, which was funny. There was a clustered crush at the foot of the stage area yet plenty of space throughout the rest of the club.
Pictureplane’s set started, then Travis Edegy realised he hadn’t plug something in, reorganized himself and started again. This meant the first song was a little bit touch and go sound-wise, but as soon as he hit his second track, Gothstar, the man was in his stride. By ‘in his stride’ I mean twirling about the stage (I really do love an artist that dances to their own music).
His tracks really lend themselves to a live performance and the whole place was jumping. At least I think it was jumping. Someone got a little over zealous with the smoke machine and I could barely see anything apart from the occasional flailing arm or leg but the lasers looked spectacular and you could see the bass moving through the smoke like the hint of some obscure lurking beast.
Travis offered an amazing version of Post Physical and the set became more trance-like as it progressed. Between the last two tracks he offered some good banter, introducing a new (and unfinished) track called Joy Rider which started out laid-back and sultry, but became upbeat and intense. No lyrics really, just happy beats with lyrical synth lines. The crowd cried out for one last song and Travis complied before he announced that he ‘might go to the beach tomorrow’. Pictureplane is as wise as he is fun.
It was the perfect place to kinda sorta see Pictureplane (curse you smoke machine, I shake my fist at you in impotent rage), with the perfect group of people. It was rad, it was awesome, totally amazeballs and bloody grouse.
Photography by Aris Cologon
- Press Gang