"Stadium euphoria and pop tunes are Lahey's essential bread and butter, and she leaves us beaming and dazed."
Eilish Gilligan gently wanders up to the mic, wearing a leaf-print throwover and Princess Leia buns. It's a bold move to cover New Zealand's high priestess Lorde's Homemade Dynamite, but Gilligan was a finalist in the triple j Lorde Remix competition and her version hits the right pocket - sparse and delicate. She breezes through 2017 single Creature Of Habit, which explores unrequited love. Much of Gilligan's set tonight deals strong hooks and breathless vocals. Gilligan finishes with her breakout hit SMFY to warm applause.
Sydney outfit Bloods look far too approachable to be a punk band, dressed in flowing playsuits and printed pastel jeans, but their taught, punchy earworm blasts hit hard. "Every time we play Melbourne we eat plates of dumplings half an hour before the show... great fatal error," chimes bassist Sweetie Zamora after their second song, trading smirks and idiosyncrasies with lead vocalist, Marihuzka "MC" Cornelius. New single Feeling is introduced as one of their few love songs and the band look like they're having a lot of fun up there. Punters seem decidedly sombre, though, and it takes a lot of guitar squall and shared shouting vocals to get us moving. The camaraderie between the two female vocalists is heart-warming and funny, but the other two band members seem a little left out. After blitzing through their last song, Bloods slink off stage.
The sound of Christina Aguilera's Beautiful plays over the venue sound system, prepping us for the onslaught of singalongs to follow during Alex Lahey's set. "Nothing like a Christina singalong... it's like Beyonce at Coachella, but less good," Lahey quips, but we lap up the nostalgia anyway. Coming off their European tour and a slot on Late Night Seth Meyers, Lahey and band are suitably slick, seasoned and seamless tonight, tearing through Let’s Call It A Day and the title track off the 2017 LP I Love You Like A Brother. She’s truly humbled by the home crowd turnout and tonight does feel like somewhat of a homecoming.
Lahey creates the kind of songs that you will sing in the shower and the band pummel through a good hour and 20 minutes worth this evening. Some songs do tend to blend into one another, but if the drunken-bro backslaps and shrieking singalongs are any indication the crowd doesn't mind. A cover of Avril Lavigne's teen anthem Complicated pushes punters into overdrive.
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The band return for an encore, the one-two punch of hits You Don't Think You Like People Like Me and I Haven't Been Taking Care Of Myself. Stadium euphoria and pop tunes are Lahey's essential bread and butter, and she leaves us beaming and dazed.