Live Review: The Cairos, OK Badlands, Pop Cult

25 January 2016 | 4:02 pm | Clare Armstrong

"The Cairos may be on the way out, but they're leaving on the back of what is arguably the best song we've ever had from the band."

When The Cairos first announced a tour for their latest single Love Don't Feel Right at the end of 2015, there was no hint that the shows would end up being the last of the band's career. For Brisbane it was a particularly sad affair, having grown used to the group's presence in the local scene since their early days as a Brisbane State High band with long hair and fast guitars back in 2007. Supported by Pop Cult and OK Badlands, it was a night of joyous pop with just a hint of melancholy as everyone celebrated the end of one of Brisbane's finest indie acts.

It's only Pop Cult's second ever show in Brisbane but their status as relative newcomers didn't seem to faze them at all. With tracks like Gotta Keep Lovin' drawing comparisons to likes of Dandy Warhols and early Spoon, it's unsurprising that guitars were front and centre throughout. The set includes some new material including a soon-to-be released follow-up single so it will be interesting to see where these guys take their music in the future.

OK Badlands may at first appear quiet and unassuming, but once frontwomen Kate Gurren and Sally Latter start singing suddenly the band take on a whole different demeanour. Their voices give the quintet's dreamy and ethereal indie-pop some serious power, bringing some extra oomph to their live performances. Latest single Cheap Tuesday is a particular standout but it's also great to hear how some of their older tracks like Online TV and Good Logic are really coming into their own as the band's repertoire grows.

The Cairos start their set with a couple of brand new songs, which, as frontman Alistar Richardson points out, may never see the light of day now. Then it's into one of the band's earlier EP hits, which elicits a mass singalong and much dancing, but it's a bittersweet affair knowing this is the first of many 'lasts' for the night. At some point a particularly energetic fan manages to get onto the stage; eventually the band just accept her presence and Richardson flings her a tambourine to bash during the song. After some awkward negotiation they manage to get "Catherine with a 'C'" off the stage and launch into the track responsible for the tour. Love Don't Feel Right is a glimpse into the future of a band that will now never be realised. The Cairos may be on the way out, but they're leaving on the back of what is arguably the best song we've ever had from the band. 

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Next the band dive into their back catalogue once again for a frenzied rendition of Lena and We All Buy Stars. There was plenty more nostalgia to come however as the band were joined by original members Sean Caskey and Dan Koyama (now of Last Dinosaurs fame) to play a few of the band's oldest songs including Further And Further and Fear Of Madness — or as Richardson called it, "real old shit". During the encore when Richardson was tuning his guitar, Caskey took the opportunity to thank The Cairos for all they've offered the Brisbane music scene over the years and it was with a sad sort of smile that the band played their last song, Obsession. The Cairos will certainly be missed, and not just in Brisbane, but it was wonderful that they were able to go out on such a high, playing an extended set to friends and family in a packed-out venue.