Gig Reviews

Electric Empire, Oxford Art Factory – Sydney 02/11/2012

Consistency is something that eludes many bands, especially in this day and age of disposable music and YouTube fads. One band that proves time and time again that they are the real deal is Australia’s own Electric Empire. Having seen this four-piece on numerous occasions, from their debut album launch back in 2010 to support slots and festivals, and through lineup changes, one sticking point with this band is that they always deliver soulful goodness. This past Friday at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney was no different.

From the moment the curtain lifted and Electric Empire graced the stage, the crowd instantly surrendered themselves to the band’s capable hands. The crowd asked to be filled with funky soul music, and that’s exactly what the band gave them. Looking out at the crowd, I was hard-pressed to find a person not grooving, not smiling, and not singing along to the songs. From the favourites from their debut album such as Baby Your Lovin’ to tracks off the recently released Changin’ EP, such as Takin It High, (which reminds me more than a little of Fleetwood Macs Don’t Stop) the band managed to fill every crevice within Oxford Art Factory with love and joy. Not to sound too much like a peace-loving hippy, but that is clearly what this band stands for: love. It’s an overriding theme in their music, and the joy that is emitted from these talented musicians as they play only solidifies that belief.

The show flew by in a haze of that love and joy of and for music that I just mentioned, with stand-out tracks being It Ain’t Easy, which is yet to be released, and their latest single Changin’. The sublime falsetto of Jason Heerah as he smashes the drums and the stellar vocals and musicianship of both Dennis Dowlut and Aaron Mendoza – who threw in a vocoder-led Kanye/Jay Z cover and the one-line vocal solo in the encore number Love, that sent the crowd into screams by bass player Simon Olsen – all confirmed one thing. What’s that I hear you ask? Well, that one thing is what many knew heading into the OAF on Friday – that Electric Empire are here to stay, and it’s a guarantee if you experience them live that no matter how hard you try to fight it, you will leave with a great big smile on your face and a new-found or renewed respect for soul music in Australia.

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