Live Review: Cute Is What We Aim For, Undercast, Between You & Me

22 August 2016 | 12:37 pm | Dearna Mulvaney

"The screaming turns deafening when the band appear and launch into 'Newport Living'."

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It's just after 8pm and people are still piling in the door when Melbourne five-piece Between You & Me start their set. The pop-punk quintet are heavy on the punk, with an almost hardcore-sounding rhythm section topped off by shouted vocals and catchy hooks. Cavalier - their debut single - wraps up the set and gets a handful of people singing along.

After a quick turnaround the next band storm the stage. Frontman Michael Cross addresses the crowd: "What's up? Come closer. We are Undercast from Sydney." The crowd shuffles forward as the five-piece launch into Prospect. Their set is a whirlwind of in-your-face pop-punk. This quintet give us a polished performance that would translate well to any festival stage. The energy is high and we dance along. The instrumentation is bright and poppy, but the lyrics are hard-hitting, openly discussing anxiety and social pressure. They throw in a cover of a classic '90s song, Everywhere by Michelle Branch, which gets everyone singing along.

The crowd gets impatient as the clock ticks past 9pm and Cute Is What We Aim For are yet to arrive on stage. Girls start to scream, hoping this will make the band materialise. The screaming turns deafening when the band appear and launch into Newport Living. Frontman, Shaant Hacikyan shouts, "Hello, Melbourne! This is so surreal. Thank you for the show and the love." He pauses, looking over the crowd and then says, very seriously, "I have a public service announcement to make. For the boyfriends who don't know who we are - thank you for being here."

They play The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch in full, from start to finish. The crowd's excitement is palpable - this album has been ten years in the making. The band can't wipe the smiles off their faces as the crowd takes over the vocals - hitting every note, lyric and harmony. When the band hint that this might not be a one-time thing, we hear the loudest scream of the night. Hacikyan says, "We're only three songs in and I speak on behalf of the band when I say: I think we can do this again." The band launch straight into Risque.

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The crowd and band feed off each other's energy. The rhythm section is all thundering dance beats, topped off by melodic guitar licks and sweet vocals. Hacikyan bounces around the stage, standing on the foldback speakers and crouching down, making sure he can include everyone. The night ends with Teasing To Please (Left Side, Strong Side), during which the crowd and band sing as one: "You're giving me a run for my money."