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Live Review: Harts, Yeo, IV League

20 February 2017 | 1:39 pm | Tobias Handke

"The spirit of Prince, the guitar theatrics of Hendrix and the vocal chops of Lenny Kravitz."

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Melbourne locals IV League and Yeo set the scene for a night of good vibes and booty shaking with their pop-friendly creations. IV League delivers a solid showing of guitar-influenced indie-rock with a Taylor Hawkins lookalike behind the drum kit. Yeo takes things up a notch with his dreamy electro-pop-meets-R&B creations supported by grainy, VHS-like footage on the big screens. Sounding like Chet Faker on acid, Yeo changes between the keytar, bass and synth as his genre-bending tunes whip the pit into hysterics. 

Touring in support of his tremendous second album, Smoke Fire Hope Desire, Harts' diverse musical talents are on display for all to witness as the free-spirited trio turn the soul and funk levels up to 11. Backed by crisp drumming and woozy bass lines, multi-instrumentalist and frontman Darren Hart radiates confidence, his face contorting into an array of mystifying poses as he makes love to his guitar. Blissfully taking the audience into a world of nu-disco-soaked desire and eargasmic arrangements, Hart has everyone grooving along and clapping their hands.

Daydream travels into Jamiroquai territory, Red & Blue turns into an electrified blues number and Peculiar screams Kool & The Gang's Get Down On It, albeit with Hart's own take on old school funk formulas. A loved-up couple more interested in locking lips miss Hart's solo numbers, the band moving off stage as the leather jacket-wearing symbol of coolness trades his guitar for the bass and synth during these mellower moments.

Hart isn't big on crowd engagement, aside from the odd thank you and asking the crowd "you feeling funky?", but his general stagecraft and presence are more than enough to satisfy. Delving into Jimi Hendrix's bag of tricks, Hart plays his guitar behind his head — to great applause — and down on his knees. The majority of songs are transformed into extended jams featuring wild solos, with Fear In Me a shredding master class and Leavn It All Behind full of disco rhythms and seductive bass lines.

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The epic jam session of Ain't Too Far Gone leads into the powerful guitar rock of Power, with Hart hoping to give "power to us all". Endowed with the spirit of Prince, the guitar theatrics of Hendrix and the vocal chops of Lenny Kravitz, Hart and his fellow band mates leave no note unturned as they put the funk in Friday and leave to a thundering ovation.