Live Review: Listen Out

2 October 2015 | 6:29 pm | James Hunt

"Listen Out has deservedly solidified its place as the music event of quality, not quantity."

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Abiding earnestly by its "philosophy of best, not biggest", Listen Out returns for its third year, in what was to be a magical affair of handpicked international acts whack bang in the middle of Perth.

By modestly shortening the duration of the event, as well as keeping to a cosy three stages, Listen Out has deservedly solidified its place as the music event of quality, not quantity. Triple j Unearthed Listen Out winners for Perth, GRRL PAL, graced the 909 stage early with some of their charming and glitchy pop and electronic fusion. Vocalist Jay Le Kat helped maintain a good-natured sort of vibe with the tentative but quickly growing crowd, warmly interacting with the them throughout. "International in flavour, cosmopolitan in style - we are Client Liaison!" Victorian synth-pop duo, Client Liaison, rocked some ambitious blue and gold suits and aviators, beginning the act with some leisurely synchronised movements  to the delight of the crowd. With no confirmation whether the Monte Morgan's delicious mullet perm hybrid was the real deal or not, it simply added to the hilarity and overall tongue and cheek vibe of the performance. Playing out their most notable tracks with some welcome guest starring from the likes of the enigmatic Tom Tilly, including Free Of Fear and That's Desire, the  '90s synth lords put on a show to remember.

Citing  his major influence in music as ambient legend producer Brian Eno, you can definitely see the intricate and delicate atmospheres that linger behind Roland Tings' groovy and pounding house music. Putting on a fun-filled set of splicing synthesisers and Caribbean percussion, the Melbourne soloist was rapidly successful in winning over an excitable crowd. George Fitzgerald followed suit with his crisp take on deep house, delving into an abundant set that was plentiful with tracks from his tantalising new Fading Love LP. Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills make up the Seattle-based indie-electronic duo ODESZA, craftily taking the Hungarian spelling when they found that "Odessa" was already being used by a Scottish synth band. The electronic outfit toyed with bouncy and predominately hard hitting bass music, sending the fellow Atari Stage goers into a frenzy.

You probably wouldn't guess that Alex Scholler, better known by her stage name Alison Wonderland, initially trained in classical music as a cellist from listening to her heavy-hitting dance arrangements. The Sydney-based 29-year-old conjured an energetic performance that resonated with the unbridled fervour of the crowd, with I Want U serving as a real highlight. Donning the half-faced Tiki mask that is simply inseparable from his act, SBTRKT put on a marvellous DJ set that found a comfortable balance between his own and others' work. Innovatively blending original production old and new with an varied range of artists from Evian Christ to Tame Impala, the British-based electronic wizard gave a thrillingly eclectic performance. Californian-born golden child Donald Glover can do no wrong no matter what line of work he enters. With a long list of concurrent and wildly successful occupations to his name, including actor, writer and comedian, Glover has a natural knack for the arts. His rapping moniker Childish Gambino is no different, with a string of critically acclaimed releases under his belt and a new album soon to follow. With his compellingly quirky and clever lyrics coupled with an undeniable flow and  a charismatic stage presence, Gambino had the crowd under his thumb, concluding the evening with a playful performance matching agreeably with the overall tone of the day.

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