GIG REVIEW: Grouplove | Oxford Art Factory | Syd | 15.8.16

Monday, August 22, 2016

In case you haven’t heard, Grouplove are ‘back in business’ & have just done the rounds touring our lovely land.  If you’re reading this now and didn’t catch any of their shows, unfortunately it means you’ve missed out.  There. There. 

Depending on your spare cash/love of the group situation, you could still catch them as they continue their tour back home in the States.  On the off chance that you are not a Kardashian (someone with a shit tonne of money and nothing meaningful to do) then you’ll be excited to know that their new album BIG MESS is due to be released on September 9 & you can already check their latest track Do You Love Someone if you pre-order said album.  Some of us were lucky enough to be present at The Oxford Art Factory as they debuted it in front of the sell-out crowd.  Check out their exclusive video performance of Do You Love Someone followed by my gig review.

I arrived at the gig (un)fashionably early & the bar lines were already across the d-floor.  Luckily I'm a seasoned double parker!  I had just managed to score a leaning/drink-resting table when a seccy spilt my beer!  I wasn’t sure whether to execute a citizen’s arrest and kick him out or to just smile & nod.  I went with the latter but was quietly devvoed that the 2 pints of 150 Lashes I had just purchased were now down to about 220 lashes in total.

My beer math was interrupted by Lisa Mitchell who had taken to the stage in what can only be described as the dress version of Seinfeld's puffy shirt.

She's gorgeous though, one of those arsehole/cool people that can pull off any look.

She brought out Coin Laundry early in the set.  I haven't made the association previously but I wonder if she's seen that Josh Hartnett movie 40 Days and 40 Nights that involves a couple who meet at a coin laundry.  But I digress; as the song commenced I was poised, scanning the crowd for any dickhead that might throw a coin at her but thankfully, no one did.

Spiritus was up next and had the crowd singing along, myself included (luckily Lisa was loud enough that the aforementioned security guard couldn't hear me). As she delivered her latest single The Boys, she really seemed to relish the response from the punters, which was a welcome additional dimension to her performance.

Almost predictably, all the iPhones went in the air for Wah Ha and she busted out the acoustic guitar for Neopolitan Dreams. She ended with Oh Hark! and the now very decent crowd was chanting the lyrics back at Mitchell.  Her set went waaaay too quick though, I guess she took another cue from Seinfeld and decided to leave everyone wanting more. 

In the break I noticed that all the cool young kids were holding stacks of VB tinnies.  I suspect VB has become the Dunlop Volley of beer - cheap and cool/cool because it’s cheap.  It's probably a nice coincidence here that bassist Daniel Gleason doesn't shy away from a shoey

The small venue was completely packed now and our fave LA export Grouplove took to the stage with a massive dub-steppy intro, which somehow fell seamlessly into Borderlines and Aliens.  The crowd was louder than the band through the ‘ari ari ari – gato’ parts and it was awesome to be a part of.  Hannah Hooper was quite the multi-tasker; head banging while keyboarding and singing.

Next came Lovely Cup, which we recited emphatically word for word.  The utilisation of two lead singers really works for them; they really complement each other. 

Hannah stated that it felt like coming home for them as Australia was the first place to love them with Triple J playing and supporting them.  The crowd lost their collective shit at the first of two Triple J shout-outs from the band that evening - it's evident how much the ‘J’s do for developing musicians.  Hannah and fellow band-member/partner Christian Zucconi also mentioned they had their one-year-old baby on tour with them!  Crazy shit.  Don’t know how they do it all.

During I'm with you Christian was relying on a strong-armed punter to hold him up as he leaned right over the first row of people from the stage for what felt like an extended period of time.  One of the VB drinkers wanted me to quote him at this point as saying, “There is nowhere I'd rather be right now.” On ya champ.  I had to agree though - man this was ace!

Naked Kids had us all forgetting it was winter briefly before they debuted their brand new song Do You Love Someone, mentioning that it hadn't been played live prior to tonight's show.  Not gonna lie - felt pretty spesh.

The subsequently asked everyone to hold on to the people around them & as I was flying solo, I felt left out as fuck as they declared that tonight was all about ‘group love’ before busting out Tongue Tied.

Me with the strangers around:

They then chumped the whole crowd by pointing at something in the crowd and repeating things like, “I see it!” and “Oh my god, look!” etc before exclaiming, “It's a Shark Attack!” to intro the song.  Well-played guys.

To my utter delight they played the track written for the movie The Fault In our Stars (and one of my faves of theirs just quietly) entitled Let Me In and Christian went all lovey-dovey about 'his girl' Hannah and if they weren't so fucking cool I would’ve chundered.

They thanked Lisa Mitchell and gave Sydney a lot of credit, hailing it for being a place they've written a bunch of music.  Can they tweet Mike Baird that?

They covered Beastie Boys’ Sabotage and Christian had security freaking out as he hinted at stage diving.  The group then acknowledged that Triple J & Beastie Boys are the best before launching into their new single Welcome to Your Life.  It became extremely evident how frequently the ‘J’s have been spinning it given the peoples’ familiarity with the lyrics already.

The group did the ol' ‘walk off before the default encore’ thing with Ways To Go and Itchin’ on a Photograph glaringly omitted from their set list thus far.  During this break some punters were chanting, “One more song!” but some clever chumps began yelling, “I've got a little bit longer, I've got a ways to go!”  I’m not sure if they even realised how clever it was but I was amused.

They obviously played those two songs next and it was great to see a band that still enjoyed playing their biggest hits.  The gig ended with Colours (I believe they actually spell it our way instead of the Yankee ‘Colors’), which set off a two-man mosh pit at the back that a seccy even managed to crack a smile at.  

They had so much energy, especially Hannah, whom I believe has a stage presence somewhere between Katy Steele and Patience Hodgson and Christian ended up on the floor of the stage after giving it everything he had.

There was also a hint that they may be returning in a few months but couldn't say much about it. Hmmmmm.

The icing on the deliciously moist mudcake that was my night was that when I got home Spice World was about to start on Foxtel.  Yep.  Top night.

Words by Kate Carnell
Photos by Joshua Pike