A first for me – two Norwegian groups in as many months, though it’s fair to say that the electro offering from Tromsø natives Röyksopp is about as far removed from the set I witnessed by countrymen Combichrist last month as Norway is from Melbourne.
Comparisons therefore end here. Not that there were any to start with really. Other than being Norwegian… and dressing up.
Carrying passports bearing the names Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge , Röyksopp kick off their Big Day Out sideshow at Melbourne’s Palace complex to a packed crowd on the lower two levels. It’s a crowd that are aged the other side of thirty to many other Big Day Out revelers, but treated to Röyksopp’s first Australian tour since forming in 1998, they were in great voice. Not to mention armed with some pretty decent moves.
The opening was epic – emerging through the smoke and backlit lights, the duo, joined by a couple of bass players in costumes that probably wouldn’t have got you into Stylus back in the day, kicked off almost ten minutes of building electronica. 2005′s Alpha Male was lapped up by the crowd.
Happy Up Here followed, with Berge stepping out from behind the wall of synths to prowl the stage. Plenty of the sounds are pre-recorded, but Röyksopp seem to have the balance right between being true to the sounds and putting on a live spectacle for their fans.
A huge highlight tonight was the inclusion of The Alcoholic, the first time anything from Senior – 2010′s ambient follow up to Junior – has been played live. It’s a welcome slowdown to a frenetic first hour.
It’s a brilliant venue for the Norwegians with a dedicated local following, and by far the best Norwegian act I’ve seen this year…
Photos taken for Tone Deaf
Big Day Out
For those who hadn’t caught LA indie-pop trio Foster The People on the Big Day Out’s green stage the previous day – or perhaps just wanted to catch them again – Melbourne’s Palace dished up that opportunity for holders of one of the hottest tickets in town.
The three piece, led by songwriter and apparent naming-rights sponsor Mark Foster, delivered a set that was as polished as the floor of the old Metro Nightclub wasn’t.
With only their 2011 album Torches under their belt, this was never going to be a long set, but after a promising opening from Brisbane act Last Dinosaurs, Foster The People burst onto the stage with Houdini, and whilst generally speaking there weren’t too many surprises – Helena Beat and Call It What You Want were obvious crowd favourites – the now obligatory encore did throw something unexpected up.
Last year, fellow LA residents Weezer covered Foster The People’s Pumped Up Kicks, and did a pretty damn fine job of it. So, to return the favour, Foster introduced his band’s cover of Weezer’s 1994 track Say It Ain’t So. It scrubbed up well and proved one of the night’s highlights.
Unsurprisingly, Pumped Up Kicks closed the night, and it saw Foster climb into the crowd, hoisted up by the fans on the floor as bandmates Mark Pontius (Drums) and the quite brilliantly named Cubbie Fink (Bass) watched on.
A solid set that delivered what you’d expect with a minimum of fuss, but, perhaps surprisingly, not a lot more than that. Still, as a young band about to embark on the recording of their ‘difficult second album’, they’ll return to these shores in a couple more years armed with more songs, more shows under their belts and will again play to an army of iPhones held high above heads recording the entire concert.
Perhaps by then they’ll be iPhone 5′s?
You’d almost be forgiven for thinking that Leicester lads Kasabian were now living in Australia. It’s their 5th tour to these shores in as many years and Melbourne’s favourite sweatbox Festival Hall was filled to the brim with a mixture of accents – Aussie, English and at least 1 American – ahead of their Big Day Out sideshow.
Opening single from their current offering Velociraptor! - Days Are Forgotten – kicked off proceedings tonight, which at least to my memory is the first time they’ve not opened with 2006′s Shoot The Runner. They didn’t wait long though – it followed immediately, and Velociraptor!’s title tracked rounded out the first three.
Quickly dumping my camera gear at the cloak room, I managed to break the landspeed record and only missed half of the epic Underdog. Along with its seemingly permanent followup Where Did All The Love Go? the crowd lapped up two of the standout tracks from West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.
Front man Tom Mehigan has his customary strut, and whilst he delivers the songs well, it’s the Russell-Brand-esque guitarist and songwriter than fans find themselves focussing on. With the skinniest of skinny jeans and a haircut that is anything but, Serg Pizzorno paces the stage, takes lead vocals every now and then, and is generally a left of centre focal point for the band. Fans though could do worse than to watch manic drummer Ian Matthews for a whole set, it’s a drumming style that at times borders on strobe-induced epilepsy but is never, ever boring.
Growing in stature with every live show, Kasabian closed out the main set with the upbeat Fast Fuse – driven by Chris Edwards bassline, the slower Goodbye Kiss which sees Pizzorno reach for an acoustic guitar, and the fan favourite L.S.F.
A football terrace singalong ensues, and the band return to deliver the obligatory but superb 3 song ‘encore’ – Switchblade Smiles, Vlad The Impaler and closer Fire – during which all fans on the floor are urged – nay, ordered – to sit down by Mehigan and Pizzorno. We do, and erupt for a final round of woooooooooooo-ooooo-oooooo-ooooo-oooohs before piling out of Festival Hall onto Rosslyn Street to wring out our shirts.
No doubt we’ll see Kasabian back next year, if not a couple of times before.
Pics taken for FasterLouder