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Live Review: The Grates, Straight Arrows, Pleasure Symbols

18 August 2015 | 9:45 am | Taylor Yates

"It almost looks like a joke, but it works."

Taking to the stage in all-black attire, two-piece Pleasure Symbols have a too-cool-for-school air about them as they launch into a synth-heavy set with a very unique vocal tone — lead singer Jasmine Dunn sings in a way that's almost monotone in contrast to the sharp synths and it just doesn't sound right. It comes across as a bit flat and everyone looks a little awkward.

After not too long the mood is lifted when Straight Arrows start with a racy upbeat number that is completely the opposite of Pleasure Symbols. Lead singer Owen Penglis picks up on the vibes and gets a little overexcited and knocks the mic stand over. We've all moved really tight to the stage and are bopping along. The band pause to make some comments about how sexy the audience is tonight and how sexy maracas players are as they are joined by John Patterson and Ritchie Daniell from The Grates on the maracas — and the vibe in the room is just electric.

Straight Arrows finish off with a little too much feedback but when The Grates start we are sufficiently prepared for them. They begin with the curtains closed and the starting guitar notes of 19-20-20, and they open to reveal Patience Hodgson in a furry pink jacket covered in flowers. The other band members are all wearing matching attire — black and red capes with gold glittery star necklaces. It almost looks like a joke, but it works. We notice Penglis has joined them on stage to play bass. Almost immediately, Hodgson gets into the first of many crowd surfs, before talking about how she wants to be on the ads for 7-Eleven. 7-Eleven and Feels Like Pain come next followed by Like You Could Have It All and Aw Yeah. They all absolutely go off and Hodgson gives out some of the roses from her pink jacket afterwards. Trampoline is a total sing-a-long and the band could probably try and get into the Guinness Book Of Records for the most sing-a-longs and clap-a-longs at a gig by this point. Before we know it, they're finishing up on Holiday Home and Turn Me On — but not before one final crowd surf.