Image Courtesy of NME
Dance-electro-punk masterminds Liars made a highly anticipated stop in Melbourne recently, as part of their Australian leg for promotion of most recent album Mess. This album is one of their most electronic yet, meaning that a packed crowd at the Corner Hotel had come here ready to move, and moved they were.
Singular support band New War was sadly only glimpsed by me on this occasion due to arriving later, but if any of their previous shows have proved is that they demonstrate a post-punk message not to be messed with. Next time, girl and boys.
Liars are one of those bands that have more of a cult-like following; like an underground pulse that feeds its way into your mind and subsequently all of your friends minds. It was those like minds that came together this night to witness the strange phenomena presented by these three erratic New Yorkers; Angus Andrew (who actually grew up in Melbourne and Sydney but is now based in NYC) on vocals and synths, Aaron Hemphill on synths and guitar and Julian Gross on drums, samples and bass.
Walking onto the stage dressed completely in white and wearing a multi-coloured knitted beanie with eye-holes cut into it and multiply lengths of woollen ‘tentacles’ draping from the front of the oddball piece of headwear (think Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama), Angus was a mind screwing figure to behold. Given that the cover of the Mess album also features a head of multi-coloured wool, it only seems fitting to adorn such oddball attire. But it’s pretty hard to function (breath, see stuff, not sweat the thing off) with that on I guess so it didn’t hang around for long. Even a few members of the audience had constructed their own ‘mess’ outfits, which also didn’t last long in an energetic and wall-to-wall crowd.
The set list consisted mostly of tracks from the new album with a smattering of crowd favourites. An insider knowledge informed me that they played the same set list at their show a Carriageworks in Sydney over the following weekend, which seems to have worked well over the different venues. Highlights included ‘Mess On A Mission’, which got the whole room moving and chanting “facts are facts and fictions fiction!!’”, ‘Mask Maker’, and ‘Vox Tuned D.E.D.'(all from Mess) as well as earlier track ‘There’s Always Room On the Broom’.
The majority of the set consisted of a primarily electronic instrumentation, whilst I was very happy to see Julian playing live drums (supplemented with drum samples) throughout the set. He only took one break to play bass on one song. Aaron too played elemental guitar snippets on a few songs, but mostly spent his time focussing on the keys/synths.
Not leaving long between the main set and the encore (which is great, drawing it out is just annoying really), they finished up with a short finale of ‘WIXIW’ and ‘Broken Witch’. No-one left disappointed. Most left elated, awestruck and hyperactive. For a band with a moderate following in Melbourne, their performance played out like a band with experience, confidence and really, just having a good time themselves. Isn’t that really what it’s all about?