Overmono played at Naarm/Melbourne’s Forum on Thursday, 4th January.
The phrases “I have a love” and “It never fades” flashed across the video screens that covered the stage backdrop and the front of Overmono’s DJ station. This gesture capped off a peak sequence in the middle and latter stages of Tom and Ed Russell’s biggest Australian headline show to date.
The setlist offered a story-so-far portrait of Overmono’s career, showcasing the Russell brothers’ fondness for UK garage, techno, dubstep and drum and bass. Their 2-step remix of Kwengface’s ‘Freedom’ gained an early cry of approval from the densely packed Forum dancefloor. ‘So U Know’, the duo’s post-lockdown crossover hit, appeared earlier than expected, sending dozens of phones into the air as people hurried to document this moment of taut, bassy elation.
The Dobermanns that feature in all recent Overmono artwork filled the video screens for long stretches of the show, providing a kind of salve if ever the shuddering low frequencies became too much to bear.
The mix – as one would hope for from a show with no on-stage acoustic instrumentation – was clean and dynamic. The Russells kept busy throughout, jockeying with the lows, mids and highs, messing with the vocals samples that fill their tracks, and occasionally punching hi-hat beats into a Roland TR-8.
When they moved away from their own discography and went into pure DJ mode, the performance surged to its apex. Along with their dancey remix of For Those I Love’s ‘I Have a Love’, the Welsh duo paid homage to UK dance music by hitting play on The Streets’ ‘Turn the Page’ (and adding a snippet of ‘Has It Come to This?’) and Ruff Sqwad’s grime classic ‘Functions on the Low’.
The two big pop hits from Overmono’s debut album Good Lies – ‘Is U’ and the title track – were saved for last. They’re as clever, effusive and crowd-pleasing as anything in contemporary European dance music, but the rhythms felt slightly awkward after the preceding peak.
Ed and Tom finished the show by walking to the front of the stage to give thanks to the crowd and hug each other.