Gig Reviews

Portugal. The Man and Givers – The Metro Theatre, Sydney 7/02/2012

I walked into the Metro not knowing a thing about the bands I was about to see tonight. Truth be told, if it weren’t for Guineafowl supporting, I’d have no idea what kind of music I was about to hear. I’d been told by a mate to come along because these were bands well worth hearing and it was their first time in Australia.

I was skeptical at the start of the night, primarily because I could count the people in the room during Guineafowl’s set. It was quite a shame because they always put on a great show and tonight was no different. Frontman, Sam Yeldham, has quite a lot of charisma on stage and does what he can to get the few people there into it but with little avail. I’m a big fan of Guineafowl and have seen them on a number of occasions, but this wasn’t their most exciting of sets. It wasn’t bad, just by no means their best set.

Givers follow twenty minutes later. From the get-go, these guys brought it (whatever “it” may be) to the stage. With a unique style of indie-pop and a bucket full of energy, Givers were probably my highlight of the night, especially when keyboardist Nick Stephan pulled out a flute and began to rock out, Ron Burgundy style. However, as the set progressed, it became apparent that every song ended with a rather jarring use of percussion, and while it was at first very cool, it began to sound slightly repetitive and unnecessary.

Portugal. The Man was the band my friend had been going on about and thus the band I was most interested in seeing tonight. The music sounded great, but at no point was there any connection between the crowd and the band. They simply got on stage and powered through their songs. At one point, there was a bit of a sing-a-long but that was short-lived and half-hearted.

This all sounds like a rather harsh take on the night, but at the end of the night, there was never any climax, nor was there ever any decline. The night just seemed to plateau from start to finish. As I said before, the music was great, the bands were fun, but there was nothing really stand-out about it. It was just another gig with cool music from start to finish. It was enough to propel me into buying both band’s albums and T-Shirts (Portugal, The Man singer/guitarist, John Gourey, designs all their artwork) but the live show resembled a small pub gig, but with a sound system that doesn’t occasionally resemble a dying cat and it seemed like all anybody was hoping for on a Tuesday night.

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