To celebrate their latest single ‘Get With Me’, Melbourne-based indie-pop four-piece Royal East share their top five thoughts had whilst attending their favourite gigs of 2019.
“We spend almost every penny we earn going to gigs together. We go for a range of reasons: for that sense of inspiration, to see what the people at the top of our field are up to … but predominantly because we’re huge fanboys and love to gas up our favourite artists.
A gig is about more than the music; it’s an opportunity for holistic artistic expression. Here are the top five thoughts we had whilst attending our favourite gigs of 2019.”
Creating safe and representative spaces. – Lizzo
Lizzo, come all the way through. This live show was a masterclass in sharing joy, love, and self-confidence. Leaving aside her brilliant, buoyant music for a moment (but only a moment), let’s talk for a moment about safe and representative spaces. Royal East is all-male band, and we try to engage sincerely and squarely with promoting safe and representative spaces. Our art, performing music, takes place in public spaces and we want as many people as possible to feel comfortable in those spaces that we are responsible for creating. Lizzo is a trailblazer in this respect: she took to the stage brimming with joy, and she is constantly encouraging her audience to share in it with her. The atmosphere in the room was electric. Lizzo has taken the tried and tested ‘aloof artist’ persona and flipped it on its head, putting herself out there in her full glory. We took so much from this gig, but if we had to pin one thing down it would be this: if you’re hoping to create a safe space, being authentic is a great place to start. Thank you, Lizzo, class dismissed.
More. Dancers. – The 1975
Yes, this was a 1975 gig. But the on-stage wonderment that captured our imaginations in this instalment was brought to you by their outstanding back-up dancers: the Jaiy twins. Dancers are nothing new to the music industry, but they’re a rare and wonderful thing to see in the alternative/indie space. In this genre, female solo artists (for example, Banks) are lighting the way, but we see it less frequently in band environments. The 1975 show demonstrated how choreography can add volumes to the artistry of a performance. In the 1975’s case, both band and dancers are extraordinary, and we lapped up what they put down. We hope to see this trend taking off – it’s certainly something we’re working on for our live show … watch this space.
Pyrotechnics. – Skepta
When you’re regarded as a global grime phenomenon, exuding significant levels of swagger is par for the course. What more could possibly be done to further elevate Skepta’s raw energy? How about eight flamethrowers shooting into a night sky? “Okay”, said Skepta.
Few things are quite so spectacular: the warmth, the spectacle and the sheer badass-ness of it. Chaos-levels of excitement = achieved. Gig goals.
Visual display. – Jon Hopkins
Jon Hopkins’ album Singularity is something special, and we are still spinning regularly today. If you are yet to experience the genius, stop what you’re doing and go and check it out. Are we on the same page now? Okay, let’s proceed.
Our expectations were high, but he blew us, and thousands of other fans, out into the stratosphere. JH took us on a journey with a simple but utterly captivating visual projection. From following a rabbit through a dark forest to flying through galaxies passing stars and planets. The unique animation and style were like watching a feature-length film, something pretty rare for a live gig. He, and his show, were out of this world.
Know what you do, then do it well. – Catfish and the Bottlemen
Catfish and the Bottlemen have made their mark on indie-rock history and we’d watch their set any time. At this gig the message was clear: a great riff will speak for itself. Unlike the other bands mentioned above, Catfish and the Bottlemen have a very sparse setup. There’s the iconic drunken parrot backdrop, a powerful lighting rig, and the band. And the entire set, from start to finish, is captivating. The band has found something that works and they each perform their roles perfectly. Catfish and the Bottlemen are onto a good thing, and their set drove home the importance of finding what works for your sound, and your setup.
Check their single below and get to their next gig at Howler, Melbourne on December 14 when they support Art vs Science.