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Live Review: Van She, Voltaire Twins, Shazam

12 July 2012 | 11:42 am | Sarah Scaife

The show began with a strong start thanks to a solid set from Voltaire Twins and good number of early arrivals. As usual, the four-piece demanded attention with their catchy melodies, upbeat vibe, erotic red stage lighting and striking frontwoman Tegan Voltaire. While the sound may have not allowed for clarity, it was still loud enough to capture the crowd's attention with popular singles like Animalia receiving a warm response. Local world-beating DJ Shazam – who seems to pleasantly be getting back behind the decks more often recently – provided engaging dancey sets before and after Voltaire Twins; his set was diverse yet consistent, with splashes of familiar and dashes of the undiscovered.

Unfortunately however, Voltaire Twins and Shazam would prove to be the obvious acme of the evening. Van She's appearance on the stage pumped the punters, who headed stageward as the group opened with tropical new single Jamaica. Lead vocalist Nicky Routledge bounced and thrashed between his three stagnant band members – each manning their specific station with little enthusiasm. Another single off the record we were celebrating (Idea Of Happiness), Sarah began slower and more poignant, with a hint of '80s vocal reverb, and did provide a handsome streak of diversity in the set. However, it was not enough to demand the attention of all, as conversation began to filter back through the crowd and dancing slowed to a minimum. The band's increased propensity for backing tracks also had an effect, with the drummer now manning a set of random electronics, one rogue snare (awful sounding in the mix over electronic beats) and a cymbal. The reliance on technology showed no more than in single Idea Of Happiness, with the drum track failing to kick in until halfway through, sucking pretty much all vibe out of an already lackluster set. Past hits like Kelly and Sex City did offer a reminder of what the band used to be, and kicked some life in the crowd until the band walked off stage after a way-too-short set. Riddled with disappointment, many people began to leave, until the band re-appeared for an encore no-one asked for. However, technical difficulties caused a slow start, and when it was finally announced that the encore was withdrawn – with a sly allusion to a fault on the venue's behalf – the evening ended with a final jolt of dissatisfaction.