Live Review: The Rapture Azari & III The Forum

9 April 2012 | 1:09 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

There are a lot of Modular types milling around the entrance to the Forum. Oh, that's right! Both bands on this evening's bill are currently signed to the label. Bass whoomps that could be heard from the street amplify and trace our passage down to the front stalls. Azari & III have snagged some one-louder amps. The two sharp-dressed vocalists, Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full, announce they wanna come down and dance with their audience. As soon as the pair materialise, all up close and personal, a dance circle forms to maximise vantage points. None challenge their mad skillz (or perhaps we're just frightened of being taken out by Helder's amazing, oversized bling – a Darth Vader helmet necklace). Azari & III bring great energy, glamour, impossibly tight pants and gyrations to die for. Reckless With Your Love is mammoth. It's party time and the beaming smiles all 'round don't lie.

After selling out two Falls sideshows at the Corner Hotel during their last Australian visit just over a year ago, you'd think The Rapture filling the Forum would be a natural progression. Au contraire, this venue is sparsely populated. But that doesn't stop those assembled from blowing off some school-night steam with hip-shattering dance moves. The band is in their finest form to date also; it's such a shame more people don't get to experience their supremacy. After closing out opener In The Grace Of Your Love with stirring a cappella, frontman Luke Jenner takes in his surroundings: “It's very Greco-Roman in here. It's like I'm singing in my dreams. To you.” His voice is immediately granted an access-all-areas pass to our dreams. Much has been made of original bassist/vocalist Matt Safer's departure from the band, but his touring bassist replacement, Harris Klahr, is funky as hell and there's no complaints here. Hearing tune after tune live and in quick succession makes you wonder why these dudes haven't gone gangbusters and it's pleasing to see The Rapture expressing the punk roots of their danceable tunes via early material such as Echoes. Drummer Vito Roccoforte comes out from behind his kit to provide extra tweaks during Olio, a track that uses everything in its power to slam you around the dancefloor and then fades away with a sly grin on its face. No Sex For Ben, which did particularly well in this country, is a crowd favourite and all contribute to the drawn-out, “Nah-ho”s.

Set times indicate The Rapture will only play for an hour this evening. It's a festival-friendly length, but Future Music sideshow attendees are rewarded with an encore. Jenner sans guitar (and his funky way of playing said instrument high up the neck must be commended) pulls some impressive shapes, but sax/percussion player Gabriel Andruzzi would win any dance-off with his '80s-inspired, loose sidestep variations on tap. During closer How Deep Is Your Love, Jenner repeatedly belts out, “Halleluiah!” and there is no other band name worthy of The Rapture. This is best demonstrated by the elation we felt earlier while dancing uncontrollably to the double devastation of Whoo! Alright-Yeah... Uh Huh leading straight into House Of Jealous Lovers. Insanity. “People don't dance no more (What?)/They just stand there like this (Uh-uh)/They cross their arms and stare you down and drink and moan and diss (That's right!)” – not on The Rapture's watch.