Live Review: Blood Orange, Wax Witches - Kings Cross Hotel

28 May 2012 | 8:02 pm | Ava Nirui

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It's fair to assume Devonté Hynes is somewhat indecisive. From hopscotching through opposing genres with thrash-punk cult band Test Icicles to indie sugar-pop acoustic project Lightspeed Champion, Hynes is a veteran of stylistic experimentation in his musical pursuits. Hynes' newest project Blood Orange could be labelled his most successful achievement, with an effervescent, ethereal aesthetic that channels '70s disco, '80s synth pop and '90s grit, proving a true reflection of his talents and tastes as a musician.

Warming the crowd up pre-Blood Orange was Bleeding Knees Club side project Wax Witches, who provided a painful, headache-inducing performance, rich in hollow guitar work and childish repetitive vocals. Alex Wall provided ultra-weird and immature layering of noise rock, garage and pop, resulting in the antithesis of listenable music.

Changing the pace dramatically, Blood Orange hit the stage looking almost unrecognisable without his theatrical getup from the Test Icicles days. Opening with the ethereal, subtle funk of Champagne Coast, Hynes resuscitated the '80s with a catchy synth hook, delicate guitar work and his signature soulful vocals as he groovily sauntered about the stage. Blood Orange evokes a DIY underground feel based on its unorthodox nature and Hynes' raw approach to the project.

Joining Hynes onstage during his performance was friend and fellow DIY musician Adam Bainbridge from disco act Kindness, who enthusiastically executed instrumental pyrotechnics and brought warmth and presence to the stage throughout the set. As Hynes shuffled about to the steady bass of one of his earlier tracks, Bad Girls, he oozed with a sense of effortless 'cool', his poetic vocals evoking an androgynous mix of Madonna and Prince in their heyday. As visceral vintage graphics were projected in the background, Dinner was belted out as enamoured fans jerked their hips about and swished their arms excitedly. The r'n'b vibes of the track were layered with sensual summer synth, creating a dense, atmospheric track tha was perfectly executed in a live setting. Although Hynes' set was rather brief, you can see the overwhelming potential in this, his newest project compared, to his previous pursuits. Third time's a charm.

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