Review: Quinn XCII | Corner Hotel, Melbourne | 1.7.18

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The closing show to Quinn XCII's Australian tour (and his first visit to Melbourne) had it all, brilliant indie-pop, a performance that truly engaged Quinn’s fans and even a surprise shoey or two.

Opening for Quinn XCII was Ukiyo, a local Australian producer who hails from Perth. While he seemed a little nervous when he first jumped up on stage, it soon dissipated, as his music did much of the talking for him. His production work was refreshing, coupling the dancey bass ridden tracks of modern electronica with simpler moments of purity through clear chiming samples. This blend of themes was a feature for much of Ukiyo’s work. Still heavily influenced by dance, Ukiyo’s tracks explored other elements of electronic music including light influences from techno and trance floating into the grooves of his production.

Ukiyo’s set included many of his current releases, 'Clicky', 'Go' and closing on his popular title track from his 2016 EP, 'Calling'. Brilliantly, each track was able to inspire a different mood in the room and as such, was a brilliant opener for an artist like Quinn XCII, who inspires so much feeling in his music.

Michigan born, Quinn XCII was an exciting and interesting prospect for the Corner Hotel stage, the artist finishing up his Australian tour on the back of his 2017 debut album The Story of Us. His talent for melding various genres through his music has played a large role in him standing out from other musicians

His set was an eclectic combination of his The Story Of Us album, the new releases from the album’s deluxe mix and old singles that made him the artist he is.

Opening with 'Candle', the mellow R&B and pop combination of sounds sent the crowd into an immediate tizzy. The well-known track quickly amped up the already buzzing crowd. Leading out of 'Full Circle', Quinn XCII was drawn into the “Shooey” chant by the crowd and after some quick introductions of his band, Patty Anne Miller, Quinn XCII’s drummer and Gregory Hugel, his keys player, proceeded to complete a schoey while to the tune of 'Seven Nation Army', creating a touch of on-stage excitement as Quinn promised another by the end of the evening.

The highlight of Quinn XCII’s set wasn’t so much a song, but his presence, honesty and engagement with the crowd coupled with his ability to blend so many musical genres without making an audible mess. Quinn XCII’s songs are influenced by pop, hip-hop, electronica and a measure of reggae, and this could have easily become a mess live, but he and his band made it work perfectly.

Quinn XCII was bubbly, constantly wanting the crowd to raise their hands, dance and sing along with him, it was these moments that led to such a high-quality performance throughout the evening. This almost stream of energy channelled through Quinn’s renditions of his songs, making each song special and unique in its own way.

Rolling through older tracks such as 'Bootleggin’', and newer recordings 'Make Time', 'Iron & Steel' and 'Always Been You', Quinn XCII completed the main part of his set on 'Kings Of Summer'. The electronic track resonated through the bandroom with the heavy beats and lyrics making many members of the crowd sing and dance with joy. The crowd hit fever pitch as Quinn XCII walked off of the stage, beginning a combination chant of “one more song” and “shooey” fuelled by the evening's earlier events.

After arriving back on stage, he fulfilled his promise of the second shoey. He also had the idea of performing his encore in only socks, which quickly led into his popular track, 'Flare Guns'. The crowd was waiting for this one, the dreamy pop track being belted back at Quinn XCII by the crowd. His passionately boisterous vocals made a massive impact and the added fact he had the crowd singing Chelsea Cutler’s part made the song a stand out moment from the evening already full of memorable events.

The crowd engagement didn’t stop with 'Flare Guns' though, even his closing track 'Straightjacket' had a large part for the crowd to play, with both Quinn XCII and the crowd competing in a vocal call and response through the closing lines of the track. Having both Patty and Greg’s instrumental parts stripped away, Quinn XCII and the crowd could be heard reverberating until the end of his show.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)