A mounting crowd gathered in Sydney’s Metro Theatre for what was likely to be the last Australian Miami Horror show for 2011. The indie-disco visionaries are relocating to Los Angeles to pursue an international career and begin production on album number two.
Opening the show were former-Adelaideans, and former-‘Former Child Stars’, ‘I Know Leopard’, who recently debuted a new line-up and more brooding, retro synth-rock sound. Compared to what lay ahead, and having seen their previous incarnation live on more than a few occasions, IKL seemed oddly contained tonight. Perhaps it was the intimidation factor of playing to a small crowd in a sizable venue, or just a new, blasé ‘tude they got going on. Either way, they impressed the gathering crowd with catchy indie guitar hooks, layered vocal harmonies and epic arrangements.
Gold Fields hit the stage next, to thunderous applause, establishing themselves early on as a force to be reckoned with. As rock-star backlights flooded the stage, silhouetting their young, hyperactive figures with blasting beams of golden light, the young band from Ballarat literally bounced around the stage like Tigger, unleashing a percussion-filled indie rock frenzy on an audience more than ready for some good times. When the opening chords to Triple J favourite Treehouse sounded out, both band and onlookers were sent into more spasms, sweet, cowbell-laced spasms that were only slightly marred by frontman Mark Fuller’s obvious inability to hear himself onstage. Fingers firmly in ears, he carried on with an ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude, winning more than a few new fans and satiating hungry supporters in the process. Tonight would be their last show until the Parklife tour. Stay tuned for announcements of a forthcoming EP soon!
Between the high pitched squeals emanating from The Lair next door, where teendreams New Empire were accosting a young crowd, the DJ in the main room kept the party boat afloat in anticipation of our headlining act. Pumping out a solid mix of indie-disco-hiphop dance floor fillers from the likes of Hot Chip, Chromeo, The Swiss, Major Laser, Big Boi and The Beastie Boys, the room was more than amped.
One thing I love about Miami Horror is that producer and original owner of the moniker, Benjamin Plant, stands stoically to the side, playing bass, keys and synth whilst the flamboyantly captivating Josh Moriarty more than happily takes on the role of frontman and star of the show, undulating around the stage with sheer enjoyment. Whilst they opened with the ethereal Soft Light, the party really got started with Don’t Be On With Her. It was almost a shame that Moriarty’s body was covered by his guitar, concealing the mad hip thrusts and booty shakes that snuck out at odd angles in the most captivating way.
Punctuated by synth stabs, wild electric guitar and grandiose vocals, the live arrangements differentiated from the songs as we knew them on record. They were given a more rock and roll edge but still retained that famed Miami dance quality as each song flowed seamlessly into the next. Only slightly disappointed at the lack of Kimbra presence during I Look To You, Moriarty shined on the lead, written for a female vocalist, showcasing an impressive range to rapturous reception.
It was beyond evident that their eclectic mix of fun-times disco appeals to such a wide audience when Sometimes elicited an ear-shattering response. My accomplice informed me that it had been used on a recent Telstra add as well as being ‘smashed on the commercial stations’. Ahh… glancing around the mixed crowd as Holidays gets a similar response, this makes sense. Achieving mainstream success whilst still maintaining that sought-after ‘indie cred’ is a mean feat.
Gold Fields again hit the stage to help close the show with an unknown cover that madly resembled Bon Jovi (if you know what it was, please do holler) and prompted some devastatingly awesome stage diving and, of course, plenty of cowbell.