Live Review: canyons bamboo muzik djs toff in town

1 April 2012 | 8:32 am | Staff Writer

It doesn't usually work out when DJs open for bands, but for Canyons, who even on Modular's boogie-inducing roster sit at the dancier end of the spectrum, it couldn't have been any other way. So tonight we have a fitting ambience supplied by Bamboo Muzik DJs, spinning their way through two hours of deep house, '70s disco and club classics. It's a slow-burning set and as the crowd loosens up, the DJs liven up, rounding off their set with upbeat cuts courtesy of Royal House, The Beat Club and Godiego.

And, sure enough, the transition from Bamboo Muzik's nostalgic club beats to Canyons' futuristic space disco proves a seamless one. The Perth outfit are here to showcase tracks from their recently released debut album Keep Your Dreams. Such a sprawling and ambitious album could never have been done justice in Canyons' previous format – that of a DJ duo – so tonight they appear headlining for the first time in Melbourne in full band mode (this same incarnation supported Justice at Festival Hall in January). A drummer, bassist and percussionist join founding members Leo Thomson (sampler/keys) and Ryan Grieve (guitar) and the impact in the sound is felt instantaneously. The five-piece band kick things off with an expansive version of album track Under A Blue Sky, clearly comfortable in their new live guise. The sound is rich and full, the beats heavy-hitting and the crowd certainly responsive. One thing this new-look Canyons might need to learn however is the difference between playing their instruments well and having a good stage presence. Grieve seems a reluctant frontman, too often turning his back on the audience and retreating to the drum kit for a two-piece version of early single Blue Snakes.

That said, it hardly detracts from the awesome display of live dance music here. Waves of enthusiastic girls bounce uncontrollably to the rhythms as the band, taking a leaf out of their support act's book, build the momentum gradually throughout their set. See Blind Through marks a nice turning point, as does next single When I See You Again. But, predictably, it's the sublime disco rock of My Rescue that gets the biggest reaction, sending those waves of girls into overdrive at the conclusion of the set.

In retrospect, tonight's arrangement was the perfect set-up: Bamboo Muzik lined 'em up and Canyons knocked 'em out. And, funnily enough, it just wouldn't have worked any other way.

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