Live Review: Mark Ronson, Pond, Yolanda Be Cool

29 July 2015 | 6:07 pm | Lucy Rutherford

"A royal variety show like no other, Mark Ronson is truly the king of his craft."

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A line of people wound around the steps to the entrance of Metro City Wednesday night in anticipation of the massive line-up Mark Ronson had brought together for the first night of his Australian tour.            

First support Yolanda Be Cool did not manage to engage the crowd with their DJ set and disappointed the few who were listening by not even playing We Speak No Americano.

However it was only a few short minutes before Pond were on the stage and the atmosphere immediately picked up. The now four piece psyche rock act never fail to entertain a local crowd and got straight into playing a mix of songs off their new album and old favourites. Having seen Pond play a fair few times over the last couple of years (an inevitable occurrence when living in Perth), their live performance has only got better, though thankfully the band still retains their laid back and larrikin persona.

“I used to walk by [Metro City] and be scared of it, but now I'm in here it's not so bad,” said lead singer Nick Allbrook.   

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Mark Ronson's roadies worked quickly to erect an enormous white screen on stage and it wasn't long before the band including bassist, drummer, keyboardist and three piece horn section filed on stage. Suddenly Mark Ronson appeared atop the screen and rappers Theophilus London and Cupid Ramone burst out with single Feel Right, accompanied by original singer Mystikal via recording projected onto the screen.

The two rappers were joined on stage by a late edition to the line up, Australian vocalist Ella Thompson, for Bang Bang Bang, which got the whole crowd moving.

Next in the line-up was Scottish musician Kyle Falconer who got the everyone singing with Bicycle Song, before Daniel Merriweather treated us to his cover of the Smiths' Stop Me from Ronson's 2007 album, Version.

Throughout the show Mark Ronson presided over proceedings on a raised platform behind the screen, playing guitar, keys or his laptop, and allowing his ensemble to command the stage. As Keyone Starr took the stage for latest single I Can't Lose he finally got down from his platform to play guitar with Starr, who is one of his most recent discovered talents.

The audience reacted like proud parents to home-grown talent Kevin Parker and he was by far the most well received performer with his pysche-pop songs Summer Breaking, Daffodils and Leaving Los Feliz were a change in tone from previous songs while still keeping the audience dancing.

Ronson returned to his perch behind the screen for Andrew Wyatt, a regular vocalist and collaborator on Ronson's albums. He strode around stage while performing a reggae version of his own Miike Snow song Animals, before encouraging a huge sing-along for Somebody To Love Me.

With the next day the anniversary of Amy Winehouses' passing, Ronson asked everyone to remember her and her music and sing to her cover of Valerie, and Winehouse's  recorded vocals filled the venue while the live band played along.

Finally the night capped off with Uptown Funk, with Ronson very obviously pleased with the reaction his biggest hit creates, especially after the news of its five VMA nominations, and the whole building shook as everyone danced and sung.

A royal variety show like no other, Mark Ronson is truly the king of his craft.