“I’ll take my shirt off?” Andy Bull asked to the sea of adoring, wide-eyed fans as he began lifting his tee. “But I thought you were here for the music?” Despite hitting the Sydney music scene over a decade ago, it’s unsurprising that Sydney producer Andy Bull is locked in the hearts of many fervent 15-year-olds with his charm, cheekiness and catchy as hell pop melodies.
Like any all ages gig, Sydney’s Metro Theatre was packed out with Smirnoff smuggling, zealous teens and a few lurking dads in the wings. First up, solid openers The Vigilantes and New Navy warmed the young crowd with their feverish mix of indie-tinged rock and dream pop. Man of the moment Bull swiftly followed, and was met with a sea of approval in the guise of piercing shrieks and waves of applause.
Kicking his set off with a more subdued, falsetto-soaked track, it wasn’t long before the snare drum signalled and Bull launched into his cathartic synth-pop anthem, Baby I Am Nobody Now. Produced solely by Bull, his triumphant 2013 single was an instant crowd favourite, with every word mimicked as the 4-piece soared toward a glitchy crescendo.
“Did you say marry me? Please… Actually, let’s move on. I’m sure someone lovely will marry you one day,” Bull assured a doting, dateless girl on the floor. Despite Bull’s humility, he was a little ‘talk too much’, which was fun at times but, unless you’ve had a bad trip and learned the meaning of life from a cactus, sometimes the origins of the songs are better left unsaid. More playing, less saying might not go astray.
A highlight of the night was when Aussie indie treasure Lisa Mitchell surprised the crowd and joined Bull on stage for the first time during his headliner tour to belt out their popular duet Dog. Mitchell’s whimsical, folky whispers married Bull’s unwavering falsettos and garnered the crowd’s undivided attention.
A poppy and percussive mix of songs from both his debut and sophomore album followed but it was his triple j Like A Version cover of Tears For Fears’ ’80s classic Everybody Wants To Rule The World that drove the evening to a new, nostalgia-charged height. Eager teens were perched high on shoulders for a brief moment before copping a flashlight to the face and ordered to get down.
Bull announced he had time for only one more tune before closing off his set with a rockin’ rendition of his recent and more energetic single Talk Too Much. Still, it was clear that one hit was missing. So when Bull and his accompanying band walked off the stage it wasn’t too long before the chants lured him back to polish off his flawless performance with his stellar single Keep On Running.
Spirited and uplifting, Bull’s set was effortless with an undercurrent of poignant lyricism. His exploration of identity, self-worth and heartache is both refreshing and relatable. Like his critically-acclaimed sophomore album Sea Of Approval, his stellar performance proved that, after his five year hiatus, his new found sound is well worth the wait.
Andy Bull continues his national ‘Sea Of Approval’ tour at Jive in Adelaide on Thursday, 18th September – full details here.