Live Review: The Presets, Roland Tings, Kult Kyss

18 June 2018 | 1:38 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"The Presets are back, baby!" Claire Rayner (Rromarin) and Jack Arentz

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Security measures seem to intensify every time we attend a gig. On this occasion, it's requested that hats are removed prior to entry. Then during our bag search, after being asked whether we have any cigarettes(?), a box of Butter-Menthols is sighted and we're asked to dig out a couple of lozenges to prove that's actually what's inside.

While finding a suitable vantage point inside the theatre, we look towards the stage and see some glow-in-the-dark headwear that changes colour on two of the three band members' heads. Mysterious Melbourne duo Kult Kyss, producer Haxx (Jack Arentz) and singer Rromarin (Claire Rayner), add a live drummer tonight and could be the house band in a Blade Runner film - industrial, simultaneously bangin' and trippy. Their new single Chi Cup contains brutal, metallic beats, vocals delivered like a whispered secret and even a sample of a dog barking. Aha, Kult Kyuss are future-pop duo Deja reincarnated! An intriguing outfit.

Roland Tings takes the stage next, also in three-piece incarnation incorporating a live drummer this evening. What they present is glorious, happy house with shades of Bonobo. Tings tells us he first discovered The Presets in 2005 and as such is thrilled to be supporting them around the country. The flow between tracks could be better, since periods of silence break the mood, but Tings' latest single One Hundred (featuring High Hoops) is simply irresistible.

A 'cleaner' hovering in the female toilet area has a two-way radio and is heard reporting a case of two ladies sharing one cubicle. 

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Forum Theatre's attention to detail with custom beverages (Espresso Martinis are available as a nod to the Setties' song Martini) and a sign on the tip jar reads, "Tip if you like to listen to Beethoven" - another cut from The Presets' latest Hi Viz record, released just this month. Some crowd members are actually wearing high vis garments as tributes to the outfit's new album.

The house lights dim and there's an eerie keyboard drone as visuals on the stage's back wall depict an extreme close-up of frontman Julian Hamilton's face. "Talk-talk-talk-talk-talk/Like-like-like-like-like/That-that-that-that-that" - blinding light shoots out from inside the giant mouth as these words are formed and squeals go up as the opening track, Talk Like That, is identified. The duo take their positions on stage and Hamilton greets us, "Hi, Melbourne!" before strobes enhance the mayhem and they launch into this highlight from their stunning Apocalypso set: "UH-OH!

They are quite literally on fire as a fire warden wanders over to extinguish some sparks, downstage right, with a hand-held fire extinguisher. Drummer Kim Moyes sports a white jumpsuit and bright pink, bob-length wig. In between songs, Hamilton hilariously quips, "We don't have to talk about the football, do we?" Martini positively shimmers, it's limbs akimbo and the visuals are Chemical Brothers quality. The Presets take it down a notch for Ghosts and momentum suffers momentarily. Downtown Shutdown enters and it's a very funky, Daft Punk-inspired number. Tools Down, though! When the sound of that steam train whistle blows, we're all aboard! 

There are some swoon-worthy inclusions we weren't sure we'd hear tonight including the mesmerising Girl And The Sea plus the devastatingly soaring falsetto and piano featuring This Boy's In Love. Aaaaah! We also completely forgot about their Led Zeppelin-evoking masterpiece I Go Hard, I Go Home and completely lose out shit.

Moyes jumping around like a lunatic centre stage, whipping his pink wig back and forth, during Youth In Trouble is everything and adds to the unhinged atmosphere this duo masterfully create. The fact that The Presets no longer need to reserve My People for their encore speaks volumes about their extraordinary output and it's all arms around waists/shoulders for the obligatory mass pogo: "So let me hear ya scream if you're WITH meeeeeeeeee!" Even though the attempted punter clap-along during Are You The One? is painfully out of time, this striking song is presented in all its saucy glory.

The duo's encore showcases a dazzling mash-up of Apocalypso's Anywhere ("And the ones you loved you lost completely") with some robotic injections from cranking new track Beethoven ("Everything I ever wanted/Everything I ever needed") and it's a clear case of, "What's that? Shut up! I'm dancing." 

With a couple of minuscule tweaks, this set is worthy of taking the main stage for Glastonbury's 50th anniversary in 2020. The Presets are back, baby!