Live Review: I Know Leopard in Sydney

I Know Leopard - Google Chrome 18112013 125931 PM’s Melissa Oey checks out some Australian acts:

Halfway through the opening set, I realise it has definitely been a while since my last visit to Oxford Art Factory. The Gallery Bar is looking three parts swanky and one part fetish den with its dim red lighting, shiny black leather diner booths and all black interiors. This is definitely not to imply, however, that Our Man in Berlin were short on magnetism.

The six-piece band from Perth had the least technical difficulties of that night and lead vocalist, Haydn Mansell exercised an impressive control over his sound. Definitely tight (cramped up but defiantly grooving on spot with their feet – necessarily – glued to the ground), I look forward to the launch of their forthcoming EP ‘Is It Right?’ in early 2014. Melbournian ‘future pop duo’ Deǰa, followed. Their opening jam – with its amazing chord progression, swiftly but surely tore down the four walls of my square mind.

With the crowd now limber and their buzzing rife, it was time for I Know Leopard to take centre stage, and that they did. Overcoming a few technical glitches, I was immediately drawn in by their excellent vocal harmonies and the blending of the first few songs into each other. A legitimate disappointment was the inability to hear the violin that was enthusiastically administered (visually at least) in time with those sweet vocal harmonies – sweet but not saccharin, I should add.

The complete lack of awkward one liners from lead, Luke O’Loughlin was a welcome surprise despite him being the spitting image of indie comedic genius and sweetheart Jason Schwartzman.

The applause grew louder with each track, and deservedly so. Embers, the second last song of the night, seemed to have a stronger structure than the others and this or the farewells they’d just made, brought new energy into their finale. It was here that the smoke machine stopped, and shit definitely got real. She paints a soundscape for feelings of both displacement and regeneration that’s as wistful as it is haunting. It is as relevant for runs along the lands of Northern Territory as it is for the mountain views of Nepal, (so my lucky friends, who are far away in those respective parts of the world, tell me).

I Know Leopard played with earnestness throughout the night, but there was an intense amount of focus from each member during the finale that made She both the draw card to anticipating with enthusiasm, their debut EP ‘Illuminia’, and their future success as a band. If She is where they are headed, it’s definitely where I want to be.



Words by Melissa Oey