Now backed with a band, Melbourne darling Pikelet started proceedings in unfamiliar territory. The sight of more band members was refreshing but the addition of more sounds to Pikelet was two fold: first, the resulting sound is bold and heavy. The second (and as an effect of the former) is a lost of lightness and delicacies associated with Pikelet’s earlier performances – they were centralized, luscious and clear. Tonight was neither of those things. If anything, this new direction for Pikelet was more intimidating and unpredictable. These are probably good traits but it wasn’t the direction that seemed fitting.
In the past four years of Seekae’s existence this was the first time I caught the trio live. That’s poor form I know but I’ve always been worried their great release of 2009 would be ruined…in my head anyway. Watching the trio mix “Void”, “Blood Bank” or “Snax” detracted from the magical preconception made by their album. However, dropping a few remixes made Seekae’s set enjoyable, getting people up from their firmly planted behinds and moving a little.
At this point I was a little nervous as the Birmingham duo casually set-up. They looked relaxed, like they’ve done in it before. Wait, they’ve done this for 15 years now. As veterans with an extensive back catalogue, my expectations for this show where just a little high for Broadcast.
Trish Keenan’s voice is impeccable – dreamy, effortless and absolutely wonderful. James Cargill’s musical flexibility seemed like second nature with all instruments played with stern concentration. The projected visuals accompanying their set was spectacular, getting stuck in a giant kaleidoscope or alternatively, tripping back in time sans the drugs.
Playing a few older favourites like “Black Cat”, “Pendulum” and “Corporeal”, the majority of the set focused (no pun intended) on their last release Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age – a collaboration with their friend, Julian House (The Focus Group). This made the set a little more experimental particularly during tracks like ” We Are After All Here” where Keenan adorns what seems like a shamisen (if you know the name of that guitar, let me know please) or “Inside Out” where their haunting electronics are taken to a whole new level.
For the whole evening I felt underwhelmed but it wasn’t the music, it was rather the space and the excessiveness of it. The awful mix job from the sound guy didn’t help this cause either. That said, the crowd who greeted Broadcast last Wednesday night couldn’t be more apt and appreciative of their hour-long set.