Electric Guest feel the love in Melbourne

Ebe Cassidy and Vinisha Mulani had a look at Electric Guest’s recent show:

The Northcote Social Club had a lot of love for LA band Electric Guest, who were playing the last of two Splendour sideshows, and it felt like the feeling was mutual.

“They told us yesterday in Sydney that we would like Melbourne better, and they were right. You guys are much better looking.”

Strategically dropped compliments aside, it was more than the LA duo’s appreciation for Melbourne’s fine physical attributes that got the sold-out, packed-in Northcote audience warmed up and dancing. The music was pretty good too. Singer Asa and drummer Matthew, accompanied live by brothers Todd and Tory on bass and keys, met the audience’s buzzing sense of anticipation by kicking straight into The Bait followed by perky Waves.

The group as a whole have an appealing, unassuming stage presence and Asa engaged easily with the crowd in brief pauses, throwing around anecdotes about Japanese school girls on planes (apparently not conducive to much sleep), but kept the set pretty tight as they ran through the entirety of debut album Mondo.

Small, dimly lit Northcote really seemed to suit the direct, open nature of the performance; it also seemed to suit some devoted patrons up the front who were, at various intervals, making very direct and open attempts to inappropriately touch the closest band member available. Even the announcement of a change to a slower pace before sliding into the soulful Amber and eerie American Day Dream provoked cheers from the enraptured crowd. Second-last came This Head I Hold, the twinkling piano intro of which was joyfully received. Artistic interpretations of Asa’s hypnotic dancing abounded. This was potentially dangerous in a crowded space but by that stage everyone was feeling pretty friendly.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of seeing Electric Guest live and in a small venue was the opportunity to hear the music stripped back a little. There is a melancholy, reflective overtone to the lyrics, and the slightly unsettling tension in songs like Troubleman and American Daydream was beautifully exposed in this setting.

Winding up the 10-song set with the superbly off kilter Holes, not even persuasive applause could tempt Electric Guest to an encore (though it is their first album, maybe they ran out of songs?). Expressing astonishment earlier in the night at the price of tickets to their gig in Australia, Asa deadpanned, ‘In The States we are like a $3-$5 band’. If this is true, it probably won’t be for long.

Pics by Vinisha Mulani. Words by Ebe Cassidy.