D.D DUMBO @ Astor Theatre gets 6.5/10

D.D Dumbo @ Astor Theatre
w/ Lower Spectrum
Thursday, June 30, 2017

6.5/10

A unique sound in the Australian music catalogue, the upbeat, calypso-esque vibe of D.D Dumbo seems more suited to a lazy Sunday afternoon outdoors, than the chilly winter evening that greeted Perth fans. But that didn’t stop the hippest cool-cats filling the Astor Theatre, eager for an intimate performance on his return to Perth for the Utopia Defeated tour.

Lower Spectrum

In juxtaposition, former Perth resident Lower Spectrum (Ned Beckley) opened with a spectacular live electronica set utilising the full backdrop of the Astor stage for a transfixing visual accompaniment. The crowd pushed forward, eager to get a good view, and head nodding and intermittent dancing caught on. The set fused hip hop, house and dub for an eclectic blend of dance beats with a darker edge. The talented Beckley is certainly going places, having commissioned an installation for the Centre Court show at the Australian Open early this year and recent contributions to soundtracks for film, television and theatre.

Lower Spectrum

D.D Dumbo is the solo project of Castlemaine-based musician Oliver Hugh Perry. No longer the one-man-band performer of his early career, Perry’s live show now incorporates a suite of talented musicians including Laurence Pike (PVT) on drums, Melbourne experimental musician Aviva Endean on bass clarinet, and Justin the Human Octopus on all kinds of wondrous instruments. It takes a large assortment of woodwind and percussion to replicate the detailed sound of Utopia Defeated on stage, with all four players switching instruments throughout the evening.

Aviva Endean (front) and Justin “The Human Octopus” (rear)

The well-deserved 2016 J Award winning album got played in full, but not sequentially, with a couple of extras thrown in to mix things up. But there were no new tracks to preview. The set launched straight into the big hits, with opening track Walrus, followed up with throwback Tropical Oceans.

The playfulness of the band was evident with a bit of a friendly clarinet-battle during King Franco Picasso, and Perry multi-tasking by using his clarinet to simultaneously play the wind chimes. Perry has an enigmatic persona and although not a man of many words, his characteristic facial expressions and quirks, all while belting out that Sting-like voice, had everyone enthralled, and maybe a little smitten.

On the opposite side of the stage, keeping things interesting, Endean picked up and played what appeared to be a piece of hose or polly tube for a long introduction to mid-point highlight, Alihukwe. The track’s complex instrumentation and African-style drums and beat, reminiscent of Paul Simon or Toto, definitely picked up the pace.

 

 

But the best was saved for last, closing on a four-piece high of Satan, The Day I Found God, Oyster and Brother. Unfortunately it was during the final tracks that the sound seemed to fall a little flat. Despite the interesting build up to hit Satan, the defining notes from Endean’s bass clarinet were hardly audible and the track, although a favourite, still didn’t quite manage to get people moving. It wasn’t until the up tempo rhythm of latest single Brother was played out that some dancing finally started happening. But it was all too late. The performance ended abruptly and while the crowd lingered on, the quick return of the house lights indicated that there would be no encore.

While it may be hard to fill a headline set with just one album to back it up, at least no serious fans would be disappointed with no track left out. It will be exciting to see what else comes out of D.D Dumbo in the future and where Perry takes it from here.

Q

Photos by Q

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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