Live Review: Cub Scouts - Kings Cross Hotel

5 June 2012 | 4:59 pm | Jessie Hunt

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FBi Social's Winter Prom turns the shadowy, indie-rave cave into… well, a shadowy, indie rave cave draped with crepe paper jellyfish and awash with green and blue lights. The evening promised to be the cool version of your high school prom, a version where you embarrass yourself slightly less, forgo the pseudo-sentimental speeches, and the DJ isn't somebody's paunchy, middle-aged father. On all counts, it is a raging success – down to the vintage. It turns out that nobody loves a good, tacky theme like hipsters.

The evening kicks off thanks to Shady Lane, with Jordy Lane running his band through a series of sunny electro-pop tracks which seemed to fit perfectly within the evening's theme. The band create music that sits in a rather strange and wonderful place between The Flaming Lips and Aphex Twin, combining elaborate, complex melody sections and otherworldly, synthesised sounds with sweet, hook-heavy lyricism. There is something strangely '90s-reminiscent about these songs. Peering through the coloured lights and crepe-paper decorations, listening to this really is like stepping back in time for a moment.

Olympic Ayres take to the stage next, taking us back in time another decade, with synthesised beats and funk-infused melodies taking us directly back to the '80s. This band touches on so many different genres, creating a sound with different layers and tones. Their track The View, for example, has a funk-infused melody, is driven by a world-music handclap, and consists of what sound like R&B lyrics. Their performance is ridiculously good – the band are tight and energetic, but they seem remarkably well-matched with the event's sort of dance night vibe.

Cub Scouts, visiting the city as part of their Do You Hear single tour, give a mixed performance. After touring extensively with Ball Park Music earlier this year, the band seems to be playing with significantly more emotional maturity. Their new track, the aforementioned single, has all of the gorgeous, light fuzz-pop of their previous triple j hit Evie, but with a little more plaintive, emotional intensity – this track comes off nicely on stage. Their music is cute and fun, and with high rotations on major radio stations, the band has cultivated a wide fan base in a short amount of time. But, with this event attended by more FBi theme-night enthusiasts than Cub Scouts fans, the band's awkward and almost cold stage presence simply doesn't fit. With one audience member actually shouting out, “Why are you so awkward?” it seems clear that Cub Scouts might have to do a little work on their politely awkward persona to win over certain crowds.

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As the night draws to a close, it seems to have gone off better than the audience's collective high school dance experiences. No overly authoritarian teachers and no drunken vomiting, but plenty of puffy blue dresses and sailor hats, to the sounds of FBi's expertly-selected bands, this is the kind of high school dance that never was.