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Live Review: Alpine, Pearls, Olympia

4 July 2015 | 2:37 pm | Nicholas Atkins

Clothes come off and inhibitions are left out in the cold when Alpine come to town

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Resplendent in a shimmering silver jumpsuit, Olympia looms in the mists of The Triffid’s dimly lit stage. Her Telecaster looks oversized hanging from her small frame. She chugs out some chiming, distorted power chords and loops her powerful vocal to build her rich and textured sound.

Melbourne indie rockers Pearls follow. The band’s striking appearance makes it hard to take your eyes off them, from the tall imposing Ryan Caesar on guitar and vocals, to the striking Ellice Blakeney on drums, not a shirt is untucked or a hair out of place. Vintage clothing and carefully rehearsed sneers are the order of the day. The sound is chunky and colourful but after a while it becomes difficult to distinguish between songs. However, before they become tiresome they disappear and more and more punters pack into the Triffid’s now roasting-hot band room.

Alpine’s six members fill the stage, bursting with energy and enthusiasm, and work the crowd expertly with their stomping indie pop. Dual lead singers Phoebe Baker and Lou James provide symmetry and a united front of ballsy, charismatic stage presence. They do not harmonise as such but the difference in their vocal styles and tones creates a pleasing contrast.

The thumping bass and sample-littered pop songs are dancey and upbeat and the band creates a warm party atmosphere and effervescent audience chemistry. The sweating crowd sheds winter layers as they jump around and raise approving arms.

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Midway through the set an awkward moment occurs as technical issues halt proceedings, and as stagehands frantically attempt to solve the problem, singer phoebe leads the audience in a singalong of Hey! Baby (I wanna know if you’ll be my girl) eliciting loud ‘Ooh! Ah!’s  from the impatient crowd. Alpine recover well and reappear with a thunderous drum solo followed by the insanely catchy and popular hit Gasoline.  

They continue, stronger than ever, churning the dancefloor-cum-moshpit into a super-heated cauldron of adulation. After a short intermission the band returns with an encore of swaggering, sexy tunes with fist pumping choruses which are brought to an end with an earth shattering crescendo. The crowd returns to The Triffid’s bar for a cold drink and a well-earned sit-down.