Live Review: Muscles

29 June 2012 | 2:38 pm | Cara Sayer Bourne

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It's no secret that despite of the success of his critically acclaimed debut album, Guns Babes Lemonade, a lot of people have thought Muscles' live shows were a piece of shit, so it was going to be no easy task to impress the crowd at Cargo Bar with the launch of his new album. After an impressive run across the Groovin' The Moo festivals, the Melbourne artist had to prove to the crowd this same energy could translate to a smaller stage – and he did. Muscles propelled his previously low bar into the sky with a surprising set that did not fail to deliver.

Though it was an understated performance, he has smoothed any prior issues with his live set and produced an excellent gig. Armed with a DJ and keyboards, the set was filled with the signature his punchy melodies, overlain with shouting lyrics and woos. Crowd favourites Ice Cream, Sweaty and new track, Girls Go Crazy, received the best responses for the night and got the crowd into a state of frenzy in the mosh with jumping and grinding running rampant through the room. More recent tracks were also received favourably by the audience – already warmed up by theresident DJs – gaining momentum as it drew later into the night. Diehards lined the front of the stage, yelling Muscles' lyrics back to him word for word.

Visually, Muscles' new props, which make him look like a combination of a rave astronaut and a zany super-villain from the neck up work on a grand setting of a festival stage, just seemed awkward in such a small scale venue. It was described by one onlooker as “like going and watching your friend's older brother play a gig.” In spite of the flamboyant nature of his tracks, the performance worked best when he just looked like a regular dude in jeans and a shirt with only his music to hide behind. And this is the only complaint, as the man has definitely picked up his game in the past two years.