The Blue Mountain natives have been hard at work all year, releasing their critically acclaimed record, HyperParadise (2012) and showing no signs of slowing down. Hermitude have been selling out shows across the country and announcing more along the way – an attestation to their immense talent and rising popularity.
Oxford Art Factory was pretty packed by the time support act, Fishing came on. The two-man
show exhibited a great display of elated pop electro, which got everyone feeling the good
vibes. Reminiscent of video games and tropical juice boxes, the boys surprised us by dropping in a few rap verses. Mid set, one of the Fishing lads jumped into the crowd, puncturing the wall of densely packed bodies and getting everyone to loosen their limbs. Lyrics were delivered with a helium-inflated pitch and were slightly indiscernible, though I heard ‘doobies’ repeated on occasion. They may not be fantastic wordsmiths, but they really do make groovy music that anyone can enjoy and move along to. By the time the boys had finished their set, the crowd was well-primed for El Gusto and Luke Dubs.
Considering this was the third show that Hermitude had sold out, I thought it’d be reasonable to conclude that the night was a gathering of Hermitude’s laziest/slowest fans. Of course I was wrong. Who could ever be lazy at a Hermitude show? Stepping on stage with beat pads around their necks, the Blue Mountain boys broke into Engage while the crowd answered with raucous cheers and some real slick dance moves. All of You was next, an easy crowd-pleaser with everyone joining in the ‘Hey! Baby, baby’ refrain.
As always with such artists, it’s interesting to see how their fiddly electronic sound would translate on stage. El Gusto made it clear from the start that the two producers were “keeping it live”. Hermitude did not disappoint, with Luke Dubs and El Gusto weaving their way expertly between keys, synths, beat pads and turntables. Tiny cameras transmitted images of the boys hard at work, interweaved with kaleidoscope visuals. Such was their energy and enthusiasm that less than halfway through the set, you could no longer discern where all the perspiration was coming from, nor could you tell whose it was.
HyperParadise received a bit of a makeover with the intro to The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens slapped on top, inspiring an off-key sing-a-long. El Gusto said we sounded great. We didn’t, but it was fun, and good to know that no one can actually hit those notes. Flume’s remix came next, and really, the song is a testament to how fantastic the original was before young Harley slipped in all those genius claps and pitch distortions.
Though the set drew heavily from their latest record, Hermitude also brought back a few gems from Tales of the Drift and Threads. Frayed is not the usual Hermy tune, but nevertheless a gorgeous track with harrowing keys and steady drums featuring the soulful vocals of Steve Clisby.
Speak of the Devil saw Chaos Emerald grace the stage with the best moves ever known to human kind. If ever there was a time to get loose (always), this was it. All kinds of moves were pulled out and Chaos Emerald, the machine, got the crowd thrashing right through to The Villain, a grimy, bass heavy tune that rounded off the set.
Shortly after, Hermitude were coaxed back onto the stage with Cloud City. I don’t know how to describe the sound, but murky and elusive come the closest. It was a fitting end. What a brilliant assault of audio-visual genius.