Client Liaison Thursday, April 27
Wool Exchange, Geelong
Support: Luke Million
Reviewed by Zach Edwards
Huge hair, outrageous outfits and pulsing dance beats saturated the city on Thursday night as Australia’s favourite ’80s-style pop group pulled into town. The time machine that is Client Liaison dominated the stage at the Wool Exchange, performing the first of two Geelong shows for their sold out Australian tour.
“International in flavour, cosmopolitan in style” reads their mantra, and CL’s debut album Diplomatic Immunity (2016) certainly encapsulates that. Punchy bass lines, infectious melodies and an abundance of synthesised instrumentals combine with lyrics that are impossible not to sing along to – and that was definitely the case on Thursday night.
The brain child of duo Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller AO, Client Liaison enlists some extra talent for their live shows – Harvey’s brother Geordie on guitar, and the familiar face of ABC presenter Tom Tilley on bass. Together they form the mesmerising four-piece that has the whole country dancing, with performances (they are so much more than just “gigs”) that truly bring the ’80s back into fashion.
Following a stellar pre-show from Adelaide producer Luke Million, frontman Monte reached for his microphone as Harvey jumped behind his synth, kitted-out to replicate an old school office desk. Complete with an ’80s-era computer screen and telephone, not to mention the giant-sized water coolers on either side of stage, there was questioning among the audience as to whether we stood in 2017 or 1987.
CL began by smashing out their hit ‘Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight’, with its bouncing melody and driving percussion. An attention-grabber of a track, yet it was Monte’s prominent moustache, golden triangular earrings and his exotic flow of dance moves that had our eyes fixed. Whilst the dancing remained continual throughout the performance, the exuberant frontman’s outfits changed between songs, including a period of (un)necessary shirtless-ness that was copied by bassist Tom Tilley, shortly after he and guitarist Geordie had joined the others on stage.
The Melbourne boys slid into one of their slower tracks – the horn-sampled ‘Hotel Stay’ – by inviting the crowd to “come and party” at their Geelong accommodation after the gig (an offer that ladies and moustache lovers alike would’ve undoubtedly accepted). To truly honour their rising status as Australian pop party icons, a slab of the band’s favourite beer, Foster’s, was brought on stage and tossed into the crowd, as the four-piece prepared to pump us up for their next spacey track.
The tunes that followed did not disappoint – the whole night continued to provide endless disco raving. The fast paced ‘Wild Life’ with its cracking snare drum and repetitive guitar riffs had both levels of the Wool Exchange bopping, whilst the chanting chorus of ‘Where Do We Belong’ united the crowd with the synchronised dance moves of our musical heroes on stage. Ultimately, it was fan-favourite ‘Off White Limousine’ that had us most in awe. The INXS-echoing guitar line that dominates the chorus, paired with the smooth and flowing synth of the verses, had Geelong erupting into dance, crooning the now-famous question, “don’t you want a ride in my off white limousine?” I think it’s safe to bet the answer is yes, judging by the amount of people that swarmed that very limousine in the car park afterwards.
Perhaps the only disappointment of the night was the fact that 7-time ARIA winner (and Australian pop goddess) Tina Arena didn’t appear to reprise her feature on ‘A Foreign Affair’. Nonetheless, the laid-back, spacey number had the crowd singing along from start to end.
Client Liaison went above and beyond to provide Geelong with an unforgettable night of disco and dance, finishing with their nostalgic track ‘World Of Our Love’, which deservedly reached #35 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2016.
A performance that would have made any ’80s pop artist proud, and made everybody dance, the boys perfected their passion and style without question. Client Liaison have definitely brought the golden era of pop back into fashion, and we’re not complaining.
Image sourced via Client Liaison socials.