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Live Review: Ecca Vandal, Haiku Hands, Born Lion

13 November 2017 | 3:57 pm | Mick Radojkovic

"She played up to the front, crouching low during 'Battle Royal' and smiling as she darted back and forth on the small OAF stage."

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Born Lion rocked the hell out of us.

The four-piece, originally out of Wollongong, were the opening act and they rocked like they didn't give a shit who was listening. It was passionate, exciting and feverish rock from Good Times Jimmy, off their ARIA-nominated Final Words album, to brand new track, Evil K. There's a lot to like about these loose units.

Good Dogs Play Dead still stands up as a scorching rock track and the boys were obviously glad to be playing Oxford Art Factory's stage. Unfortunately, the crowd weren't really speaking up for their set, but the boys couldn't have cared less. Drumsticks into the crowd and it was drinking time!

Slotted in between the opener and headliner are new singing sensations Haiku Hands. Playing as a three-piece (Mataya Young was absent), the group kicked off their set with the punk-infused Mechanical Animal and their well-orchestrated dance moves. They give off such a fun vibe onstage that the crowd couldn't help but get involved, especially when, "I dare you not to dance," was being thrown around. There was such a number of quality dance songs with catchy hooks in their set that we all had to wonder, which one is single number two? The first (and only) single Not About You goes off, of course, but the final track Work On It is almost certainly the highlight of the night.

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Ecca Vandal is playing the long game in her musical career. Since her first single in 2014, she has been steadily drip-feeding us killer music, including her EP last year. Following a stream of solid support slots (Young Fathers, QOTSA) her debut self-titled album finally dropped last month. Her music is made of equal parts rock, punk and rap, and she has successfully been carving her own niche in the Australian music scene.

Tonight, we helped to celebrate her album launch and Vandal was in fine form. Clearly excited to have such a great female contingent in the crowd, she played up to the front, crouching low during Battle Royal and smiling as she darted back and forth on the small OAF stage. The opening track from the album, Your Way, was an early highlight and other new songs, Broke Days, Party NightsPrice Of Living; and Future Heroine were all given an airing before this hugely receptive audience.

The band behind her were flawless; they are the driving force behind the tight sound that Vandal spits her lyrics over. The combination of synth, guitar, bass and piercing drums kept everything bang-on and they deserve accolades for expertly recreating the album's complex sounds.

Vandal has such amazing charisma onstage and had a great time tonight. She jumped into the crowd for a couple of tracks, talking in between songs, and joined her fans after the show for a chat and a pic. A fantastic headline gig from a star that is aiming very high.