Live Review: Cub Sport, Wafia, Two People

8 April 2019 | 3:04 pm | Nicolas Huntington

"Tears roll down faces, phone batteries die trying to record such a beautiful moment, and screams for 'One more track' start as soon as the final chorus kicks off."

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With Instagram stories aplenty from their all ages matinee earlier that day, we know we are in for a real treat when Brisbane’s favourite pop outfit Cub Sport launch their new album at The Tivoli.

Two People open the night (albeit plagued by technical difficulties) with beautiful strings and synth sounds accompanying some of the most impressive vocals we’ve heard this year from singer Phoebe Lou. Sitting somewhere between Beach House and Tame Impala, the Melbourne duo are an absolute gem, Lou treating us to some solo piano renditions of tracks while engineers fix their equipment.

Wafia, full name Wafia Al-Rikabi, continues the party swimmingly, having not played a show in her hometown for some time. Punters go off when the artist walks out in the flesh but energy dies off quickly. It’s not until set closer I’m Good that punters put on their dancing shoes, not that that phases Al-Rikabi. She performs a ripper cover of Frank Ocean’s Lost, which takes away some of the sexiness of the track and replaces it with a more emotional touch, as well as giving us a taste of some of her upcoming music – spoiler alert: it slaps.

Opening with synth pads through the PA and ominous lighting, the band's fashionista icon Tim Nelson strolls on stage for a vocal solo of Unwinding Myself to welcome us to the evening. As Nelson fades back to the black and the curtain drops, the colossal stage set-up for Cub Sport is revealed. A platform loops around the back of the stage with a huge light panel that makes us feel like we are at a stadium show for Drake. It's all accompanied by massive light displays side of stage and a goddamn laser show on the roof – what a glow-up for the Cubbies. Singalong Chasin' opens the set proper and the air is immediately filled with phone screens. With the stage set-up and a costume change already in the bank, this show is cementing Nelson as a pop star, the frontman strutting around the stage like an angel. Ethereal in his voice and channelling Florence Welch with his moves, it’s an enlightening experience, especially when Video and Hawaiian Party follow suit. The set does take a major energy drop when a sea of emotional tracks such as As Long As You’re Happy come into the set. This time highlights the love between Nelson and keyboardist Sam Netterfield, each track bringing on the audience love for the two. Footage of their wedding during a lengthy instrumental jam as bassist Zoe Davis shreds centrestage gets some of the most raucous cheers that have ever rocked The Tivoli’s roof.

The energy slump is cured when the opening notes of Sometimes come from out of nowhere and absolutely floor us like we’ve been hit by a disco truck. Nelson directs the audience to join him in dance and song like Madonna has just walked into the room. Closing the set with iconic track Come On Mess Me Up, the Cubbies team ground us after the beaming dance explosion of Sometimes. Tears roll down faces, phone batteries die trying to record such a beautiful moment, and screams for “One more track” start as soon as the final chorus kicks off. After potentially the shortest end-of-set rest ever, the four-piece return to a giant sold-out chorus of love. Having just performed a Like A Version of Billie Eilish’s instant classic When The Party’s Over that people won’t stop talking about, you can imagine the vibe when Nelson announces they want to recreate it right now. A beautiful crescendo to a pop masterclass – long live Cub Sport.

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