Live Review: Underground Lovers

27 February 2018 | 9:12 am | Stephen Munchenberg

"It's good to have them back."

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Underground Lovers were a big deal in the 1990s. It was a time before mobile phones and streaming music services; a time when indie guitar bands could gain national radio airplay and command a serious following. To hear that the Melbourne group would be returning in Adelaide was welcome news to these ears (and many others, judging by the strong turnout). Thankfully the Spiegeltent was not in seated mode tonight.

Never one to engage in much between-song banter, singer Vincent Giarrusso did manage a few acknowledgements and apologised for the show running nearly half an hour late, blaming the earlier burlesque show for putting them behind schedule (and for making them feel very unfit). Later in the show he became a little emotional and shed a tear during one song, which was touching.

Much of the setlist seemed unfamiliar (the band have released two albums in 'recent' times). Nonetheless, memories of a packed Adelaide Uni bar came flooding back as their signature Losin' It was played early.

Guitarist Glenn Bennie was always the secret to the band's success and tonight he didn't pay the crowd much attention, instead remaining turned away and focussed on his guitar amp for much of the set. Regardless, he remains the key to the band's dense sound and his masterstrokes held things together throughout the show, even when the vocals of Giarrusso and Philippa Nihill occasionally didn't quite hit the mark.

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The inclusion of material from their new album, Staring At You Staring At Me, was better than anticipated - with The Rerun being one of the highlights of the night.

Fan favourites such as Your Eyes and the single-song encore Promenade were welcome reminders as to why these guys were so influential back in the day. At just over an hour, the set wasn't long enough to allow much exploration of the band's electronica-based songs, with more emphasis on their wall of guitars and synths.

It's good to have them back.