Live Review: Winston Surfshirt, Polographia, Crooked Letter

13 November 2017 | 1:30 pm | Shaun Colnan

"[Winston] cavorted about the audience, a provocative pied piper, as the band bounced up and down back on stage."

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Crooked Letter opened early to a modest crowd at Metro Theatre on a Friday night that was buzzing with anticipation for triple j favourites Winston Surfshirt. His flow was smooth, his solo rhymes filling the scant theatre. The bass oozed and shook the early-comers' chests.

Polographia blended '80s synth and dance-inciting rhythms to create a palpable party atmosphere. An eclectic audience became one during tunes like Feels Alright. There were shades of David Bowie and early The Avalanches as they smashed through songs off their Natural EP. Then the man himself, Winston Surfshirt, came out for a little collaboration on Sly, an infectious track with tropical tinges that further enlivened the local outfit.

Winston Surfshirt have risen to national notoriety over the last few months and this sold-out show at Metro Theatre proved to be a crowning glory. Playing songs from their popular LP, Sponge Cake, the six-piece added two more members to flesh out their horn section, creating a fuller and more festive sound. Winston Surfshirt is the bridge between R&B, hip hop, jazz and modern pop. The lights meandered like search beams across the crowded darkness as they played songs like Same Same and a cover of Justin Timberlake's My Love.

Slow, bass-heavy songs complemented more upbeat grooves, touching on several musical styles and delighting fans old and new. Cruws signalled not just a mood departure but a departure of the lead singer from the stage. He cavorted about the audience, a provocative pied piper, as the band bounced up and down back on stage.

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Songs like Ali D and Be About You proved crowd favourites: the former a chill tune with silver-tongued lyrics and a horn melody to match, the latter with a spattering of Tribe Called Quest-inspired keys. Both songs shared a common theme that prevailed throughout the night: a contagious chorus.