Live Review: The Presets, Roland Tings, Kult Kyss

19 June 2018 | 4:22 pm | Gavin de Almeida

"While their back catalogue isn't necessarily chock-full of sweet sounding hooks, the variety and quality of their show certainly did the trick for their loyal fans."

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While their heyday may be well and truly behind them as electronic music evolves and improves faster than any other genre, The Presets still hold great relevance for their old school fans.

So while Thebarton Theatre didn't quite sell out, there was still enough of a critical mass to warm the hearts of the grateful and gracious duo who put on a solid show with great sound and visuals.

Tonight's opening act, Melbourne electronic duo Kult Kyss are an eclectic, hard-to-define act featuring ex-Adelaidian indie rocker Jack Arentz (aka Haxx) on production and the confident charismatic Rromarin on vocals. They cut quite a sight live with their frilly headpieces and Rromarin's animated dance moves, but it's their sharp percussive textures, ethereal vocals and occasional '90s dance vibes which really shine out. Kult Kyss has a diverse array of sounds which, in addition to their fantastic live aesthetic, make them a worthy opener to a major, established act like The Presets.

Then, in the surprise of the night, the fantastic Roland Tings and his two-piece band put on an enthralling show to rival, or arguably even surpass, the headline act. Ex-Mercy Arms drummer Julian Sudek is part of the live band and his measured beats and silky hi-hats provided a great bed for the layers punctuated by ambient, heavily effect-laden guitar riffs. With slow building tracks, elements of drone and great percussive parts, this set is what good dance music is about. Roland Tings has been an underground revelation in Australian electronic music, but these sophisticated sets to large audiences will no doubt increase his fan-base on the back of this tour. It's such a great thing to have support acts contribute in a meaningful way to the entertainment value of an entire night.

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The Presets drop Talk Like That, in a confident start to kick off the show with singer Julian Hamilton's signature vocals ringing out and producer Kim Moyes in a zany pink wig on live drums. After that however, the pounding bass and effect-heavy vocals overwhelmed the melodic components of the backing track for a while before the mix was levelled out. The first half was underwhelming in parts with a lack of consistent hooks throughout. Through the middle of the set, the sound cut through at different times allowing the crowd to become increasingly involved. The choppy guitar recordings sounded great when used and the varied synth loops added more texture to the tracks. The huge vocal overdubs also boosted the hooks when used. This Boy's In Love sounded huge with the beats stripped back. When the drop hit midway through the song it was grand. Their biggest hit by far, Are You The One was also given a similar treatment, with a different live arrangement to avoid becoming stale.

The Presets put on a great show and while their back catalogue isn't necessarily chock-full of sweet sounding hooks, the variety and quality of their show certainly did the trick for their loyal fans.