Dusting off their remains of an excellent set at Sugar Mountain Festival in Melbourne’s Art Precinct, the local but internationally worthy Alpine headline their own mini festival at the wonderfully peculiar Estonian House, route 55 tram in suburban Melbourne. Support tonight came from the “leisurely” Leisure Suite who recently releases their latest EP and the happy-clappy sounds of Dorsal Fins.
Estonian House, by Melbourne venue standards is special, beyond its completely pastiche design and sense of a feeling like you are at a school prom, it is a venue dipped in colourful history and it is great that the team at Shadow Electric have agreed to put it to good use. Adorned in some pretty purple and red stage lights, we entered the space with a flashback of walking into a miniature version of London’s Brixton Academy .
Leisure Suite also shared their appreciation for the venue, marking it as one of the most beautiful they have ever played while sharing with a growing crowd a number of tracks from their freshly released EP. Leisure Suite have a delicate and gentle sound layered with intricate and sparse guitar work, drum beats and synths by the talented Mitchell Wood who creates the soundscape for Bridgette Le to offer her gentle soulful voice upon. Each time I hear them live they sound better and better, tonight, with perhaps a few nerves in their belly during the first few songs, by the time they introduced new single Heavy Head, they captured the audience’s attention. A great set by them tonight.
Dorsal Fins are made up of 7, not 8 no 9 no 10, I think we counted 9, musicians who each are extremely accomplished musicians whether a trumpet, sax, bass or keyboardist who collectively transport us to the cheesy side of the 1980s with their catchy choruses and melodies. Watching Dorsal Fins perform live makes me realise that perhaps I have a few hung ups about letting myself go at a gig or perhaps I just listened to too much of Morrissey in my youth, can music really be so happy? Well, apparently we are all having a great time and those around us are going bananas, so that’s fun! (Ironically, Morrisseys’ Suedehead played out just before Alpine took to the stage.) The Fins have a devoted following and there is no questioning their professional and gracious stage presence, they are a band that put a smile on many of the punters faces tonight and feel the House with a great vibe. Their now trademark cover of Kate Ceberano’s Pash is the perfect treat to get this VERY young crowd ready for those Melbournites, Alpine.
Alpine skip on with full delight to the serenading dulcet tones of Morrissey’s Suedehead. For us Morrissey fans, we could have pretty much left then and been satisfied. Alpine have really got their live performance nailed and with the excited crowd at their mercy the energy in the House was electric and the two wonderful lead ladies Phoebe and Lou drank every drop of it. These two “performers” are just exceptional both as a presence and as singers, mesmerising to watch, with their ability to keep you transfixed as we certainly were. The band played through a good portion of their latest album Yuck, in fact we believe they played through the entire album from start to finish, each track keeping the audience pumped and yelling in their young screams for more! Foolish is such an accomplished pop single, it sounded perfect live.
The band were on excellent form tonight, tight as a hung noose, they played off each others enthusiasm while Phoebe and Lou pranced around in pure joy, it seems that Phoebe lost her footing a few times in the sheer excitement of it all. She is only human. Tonight, I think no matter what the band played the audience would have danced and responded with equal enthusiasm, we were all just up for a good time, while some just wanted an opportunity to snap a few selfies to show their friends how fabulous they were, doing it large at a gig.
With probably the quickest Encore we have witnessed in many years, the band were back in moments and kept the vibe reeling to drive home their biggest debut album hits Hands, Gasoline and Lovers 1 and 2, it felt like the perfect hit parade for a band that has so much to give with only 2 albums down.
The question on our (well mine) tongues was the pondering thought if Alpine could take it up a notch from their excellent set at Sugar Mountain? Without question they did and tonight the band nailed it with a lot of effort and a lot of support from endearing fans. Alpine are an Australian band that are a reminder of our great artistry that have international worth. Alpine, get out there and show the world what you are made of!!!