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THE PRESETS @ METRO CITY gets 9/10


The Presets @
Metro City
Saturday, April 3, 2021

9/10

The special magic of a great, large scale live concert is hard to match. And god knows we’ve all been locked up for far too long. But on Saturday night, we were locked up with all of our people! And The Presets blew the roof off Metro City in what would have to be gig of the year, or even the best since the start of last year, when big touring gigs were still a thing.

There were a few delays with this tour, as The Ice Cream Factory pop-up venue season – the playground wonderland setup on the corner of Roe and Lake Street, usually for a few weeks in December – was postponed and then cancelled, with the planned events being moved to other venues. Thus The Presets had been moved to Metros and split across two nights, with at first 50% capacity, which was then raised to 75%. The Easter Thursday night was a big one, and they returned for another extravaganza Saturday night, filling up Metros again.

The Presets

The Sydney duo of Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes time and time again prove themselves to be Australia’s greatest live electronic act. Since bursting onto the scene with their debut Beams in 2005, followed by their classic breakthrough Apocalypso in 2008, released on the influential Modular Records label, they spearheaded the Aussie electro wave of the 00s, running alongside the French sounds coming out of Ed Banger Records. Their brand of high energy electro with a rock and roll sensibility that combines driving synths with stomping drums and Hamilton’s trademark bold, brash vocals, has drawn comparisons to acts like Underworld and The Chemical Brothers.

Their last LP Hi Viz was released in 2018, but they’ve recently released a four track EP with Golden Features, containing a couple of huge new tunes, Raka and Paradise, which were given a live work-out in all their glory on the night.

There was plenty to see for the early crowd turning up, wandering around every nook and cranny of the cavernous Metros. It was pretty sparse numbers at first as people spread out across all the levels, with the front mezzanine bar hosting a stage, as well as the main room, where Namara was banging out some fairly generic party tunes flanked by choreographed dancing girls.

Early on, the rooftop was where it was at. It was a balmy night and perfect for an outdoor beer and boogie on one of Perth’s most underrated rooftop spaces. The music was more appropriate earlier on too with local party starter, Bad Habits. High above the crowd on the balcony, she grooved and spun some lush deep house sounds, including Bicep.

Heading back inside, it had filled up considerably. Elise Keddie was really bringing the bangerz and fired up the big visual screens. A very polished performance, she had great stage presence dancing behind the decks and tore through a killer set of that mid 2000s electro sound, with some Modular faves as well as that French Touch featuring some tracks from the legendary Parisian Ed Banger label, including Daft Punk and Justice. She took it into harder, dubstep territory and mixed in some harder punk rock sounds with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Rapture. Meanwhile the spinning neon visuals took things to another level, as the dancing girls returned now in neon glow-in-the-dark patterned bikinis, cutting shapes in front of the giant screens.

The Presets

It was a great warm up set, and by the time The Presets came on, the crowd was at fever pitch. They entered on Talk Like That – straight into it with no messing about, to take it to peak level.

Martini is newer track that has quickly become a live favourite with its funky, wobbly bassline. But it was the next track where the bass really kicked in, with the more down tempo, swinging sea shanty Ghosts featuring one of Hamilton’s best vocals as he reminiscences of youth lost, “Once I was a very young man, and very young man are none too clever.”

The Presets

This drove straight into Do What You Want, the lead single from Hi Viz, that sits well alongside the classics. The Presets have such an arsenal of weapons now, readied to unleash.

Then the couple big Golden Features collabs were a one-two punch. The huge certified banger Raka really set things off when the drop kicked in, and the kicker Paradise is a gorgeous slice of classic house, that samples the Australian electronic classic Sweetness and Light by Itch-E & Scratch-E.

The Presets

This Boy’s in Love was another melodic live fave, before they delved into harder territory with I Go Hard, I Go Home and Youth In Trouble; and worked it into a drawn out Underworld-style techy remix of Are You The One?

Moyes’ live drum kit really gave some tracks huge energy, though when he moved to the stand-up electronic kit, he also triggered a mad array of beats. Hamilton too triggered vocal samples from a pad with drumsticks.

14U+14ME from Hi Viz is a modern day Presets epic, and the slowly building dramatic tune exploded into a bombastic chorus. While it could be joked about that it’s talking about pills, there’s really a deeper global message going on here. This is mature fathers’ rave music.

The Presets

“Thanks so much Perth. This is our last song tonight,” said Hamilton as he bid us goodnight. The set had seemed to fly by, and the sweaty crowd had more to give. The moody Until The Dark finished the set proper in a big way with Moyes dramatically slapping his synth with his palm and smashing the beatbox with his fist, before waving as they left the stage.

But the crowd were not done with them yet, and started up raucous “One more song!” chant. This got them back out for one last tune, humbly thanking us for a great weekend. They finished things off with the dark analogue synth sounds of Anywhere, the closing track from Apocalypso.

Bring on the return of live touring!

ALFRED GORMAN

Photos by Nushade Photography

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