Live Review: Jinja Safari, Opossom, White Arrows

20 August 2012 | 3:11 pm | Lucia Osborne Crowley

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The current of anticipation running through the large crowd in the Metro Theatre at the outset of the Blind Date Tour is infectious, and opening Californian outfit White Arrows are received with great excitement. The band commands the large space immediately, with Mickey Church's strong vocals sending a hush through the crowd from the opening track. The complex vocal melody and catchy synth line in the group's hit, Coming Or Going, also falls together with confident cohesion. Church's vocal melodies are lost at times beneath the heavy drum and synth sounds, but the group's vocal prowess is reestablished towards the end of the set with a series of impressive vocal harmonies combined with flawlessly composed synth and guitar melodies. The band's sound becomes noticeably heavier in the final two songs, their energy and enthusiasm providing a satisfying close to an impressive set.

New Zealand's Opossom then take to the stage, opening with heavy guitar, synth and drums, which combine to produce an alarming breadth of sound that fills the space with ease. Towards the middle of the set, however, the sound becomes somewhat haphazard and discordant, with a distinct lack of instrumental cohesion as well as enthusiasm from the performers, making the series of songs significantly less engaging than those that preceded. The heavy reverb and strong, commanding vocals of the penultimate and final tracks, however, reestablish the crowd's excitement and close the set on a more satisfying note.

Finally, Jinja Safari grace the stage, immediately establishing an unbelievably commanding presence that wins them the full attention of every single person in the packed-out venue. The enthusiasm with which the band's masterful performance of Hiccups is received establishes the crowd's almost uncontrollable excitement from the outset, which continues to build throughout the performance. The band continues to command the large space with impossibly cohesive drum, keyboard and vocal lines that fall together with deceptive simplicity. The crowd particularly enjoys the band's energetic performance of Toothless Grin, with its musical complexity and introduction of a captivating flute line; it makes it one of the set's highlights. The band's true vocal talent is showcased in Forest Eyes and Moonchild, both of which send a distinct hush through the crowd at various moments as a result of their confident delivery, despite the songs' overwhelming complexity. The band then indulge the crowd with a new song, whose deeper, somewhat darker vocal line make it conspicuously different in tone from the foregoing tracks, further displaying the group's musical dexterity. As the band leaves the stage, the crowd incessantly demands their return and, thankfully, the group oblige, this time appearing with even more triumphant energy and significantly less gender-appropriate clothing. The mood and energy in the room is lifted once again in the long encore, which ends with another standout moment, a flawlessly cohesive rendition of Mermaids. With that, the band leaves the stage for the last time, an amazed and overwhelmingly satisfied audience in their wake.