Live Review: Snakadaktal

26 August 2013 | 3:33 pm | Jacqueline Flynn

Snakadaktal aren’t bad performers as such, they just haven’t yet developed a way of translating the seductiveness of their recordings into a live format.

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A show at this venue is a great achievement for Snakadaktal, who are former winners of triple j's Unearthed High competition. Tonight the theatre looks particularly ethereal, providing the perfect backdrop for the young band's ambient, indie-pop flavour.

First up is Hung On Tight, the first official single from Sleep In The Water, a great follow-up to previous singles Chimera, Dance Bear and Air, the latter of which they perform next. Over the next few songs, Ghost included, it's clear that singer Phoebe Cockburn has to compete with the audience chatter in order to command the room. While Cockburn's airy voice always sounds beautiful, it floats above the room unable to cut through the din of this excited Saturday night crowd. There's also little physicality within the band, aside from drummer Barna Nemeth who grooves in and out of songs while his bandmates are absorbed by their instruments. Onstage banter is few and far between, which is not a good thing. Singer-guitarist Sean Heathcliff makes a point of thanking each person who is working on the show this evening by name and declares, “Boy, do we love Melbourne! That's 'cause we're from here, but we love you anyway” – they're simply lovely people.

As the set goes on, the five band members do loosen up a little, which is all the restless crowd need in order to do the same. Heathcliff's voice acts as a great anchor for Cockburn's when they sing together and this is especially evident when they perform their hit single Dance Bear. This point is further emphasised during their cover of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs' song Garden, but then Heathcliff makes a mistake, says “sorry” to Cockburn (into the microphone) and gives up on the rest of the lyrics. If they were performing on any of TV's reality 'talent' shows they would have received a severe verbal throttling from a C-list celebrity judge for that. Luckily, however, the audience tonight is far more forgiving. Snakadaktal aren't bad performers as such, they just haven't yet developed a way of translating the seductiveness of their recordings into a live format.