Making a pit stop in Sydney during the Future Music Festival tour, acclaimed producer, writer and DJ extraordinaire, Mark Ronson accompanied by his extraordinary band, The Business Intl, dropped into a throbbing Enmore Theatre to impart some wisdom, tunes, fly beats and a tonne of Ooh Wee on his most ardent of Sydney followers.
Not limiting the set to 2010’s smash debut Record Collection, the collective took their captive audience on a journey through their individual back catalogues, including Ronson’s previous album, Version, with UK songstress Rose Elinor Dougall filling in for Lily Allen on the Kaiser Chiefs cover Oh My God and the spectacularly cool Smiths track, Stop Me.
Holding true to his video-demonstrated vision (Think Bang Bang Bang film clip), the live stage was a charmingly contradicting 80s futuristic design, featuring hexagonal drum pads adorning each ‘station’ and M.Rons standing on a raised plinth, watching over but by no means detracting from the action on the stage beneath him.
A resounding cheer erupted as Spankrock entered the stage for Lose It (In The End), and
when Phantom Planet’s Alex Greenwald suggested to the crowd that he play one of his own tracks, those familiar with the boyish rockstar cheered with delight. But it wasn’t till the opening piano line of California blasted out that hysteria really set in as every OC fan in the house creamed their collective pants.
Giving the band a rest, stepping down from his throne and allowing us to finally get a good look at his 90s-schoolboy-esque grown-out peroxide undercut, Ronson decided to break it up half way through, going back to his humble roots and launching into a dance-fuelled DJ set that transcended the likes of his own works, along with a sprinkling of Depeche Mode, Major Laser and Jay Z. By this stage, both the jam-packed floor and balcony levels were on their feet, losing their shit to one of the world’s most switched on contemporary musical gurus.
Starting off the virtual ‘second act’ with style, individual vocalists were invited on stage one by one to perform more of their own tracks. Spank Rock maintained the D-floor antics, with his ballsy track Shake It Til My Dick Turns Racist but was followed by a less-than-exciting few minutes with New York party hero MNDR, who requested “Sydney sing along” to one of her relatively unknown and down tempo tracks, leaving the crowd slightly more static but none the less absorbed by her astounding vocal ability and those undulating hips.
When Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt entered the stage to perform Animal, and later a heart wrenching Somebody to love me we knew we were in for a treat. Having been in Australia a mere few weeks previously, Wyatt had made a special trip back “just to sing this song” (according to Ronson). With love like that, you can’t help but feel just a little bit special and I swear more than a few people were looking around expecting Boy George to step out of the woodwork and completely blow us all away. In case you’re wondering, no, he did not… but who cares, the show had already kicked ass in a big way and was sure to be listed up there on ‘most memorable concerts’ in everyone’s internal checklist.
Returning to stage for an encore after yet another round of ear shattering applause, the band launched into the album’s title track Record Collection, with Ronson taking solo vocals and delivering that oh-so-sly line about Charlie Sheen (quite visionary, considering it was written about a year ago). The energy both on and off stage was palpable and I’m sure I was not the only one in the room wishing I were part of Mark Ronson’s super mega awesome club. Sadly the show was eventually closed, but in great style, with the pop-tastic Bang Bang Bang sending the night off with, quite literally, a bang.
I left the Enmore Theatre with a tune-filled head and the distinct realisation that this was more than just a simple gig we’d just witnessed, but a showcase of finely crafted and down right fun pop tunes, executed to excellence by their creator’s dream band… what more could we ask for?
Maybe next time.