Live Review: Young Fathers, Ecca Vandal, Black Vanilla

8 January 2016 | 11:07 am | Chris Hayden

"In the end, the result is a bit like three kids in a trench coat trying to pass themselves off as an adult."

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It's always a little disorientating to walk into the Corner and be greeted by the old corduroy curtain of death — a fabric only ever rolled out to cover flagging ticket sales. Call it holiday malaise or sideshow overload, but there's no escaping the fact that numbers are a bit thin on the ground for Scottish mutant dance quartet Young Fathers tonight. Still, anticipation is high for the recent Mercury Prize winners despite the fuzzy no-go zone.

Kicking things off is Sydney trio Black Vanilla, who deal an energetic line of sexed-up R&B. Singer Marcus Whale (also of Collarbones) showcases some smooth moves and quips that make it feel like one of his birthday parties in here; a nod to the smattering of punters who finished dinner early enough to get down. We're sure he's more popular than he's letting on.

Local girl Ecca Vandal jumps on stage all Princess Leia buns and Gwen Stefani 'tude to take us through her idea of genre deconstruction. One second she's MIA in London, next she's taking cues from Mike Patton and then, all of a sudden, she falls in a strange trap filled with Cog and Santigold. It's all just a bit confusing.

From the jump, it's hard to know where to look with Young Fathers as they chant, sing and growl in unison like some heartbroken boy band, regularly showcasing spontaneous acts of dance and, in the case of middle man Kayus Bankole, a bizarre half-windmill. The cold fish eyes of 'G' Hastings scan the room as he makes us squirm and asks us a few questions about Australia's shameful immigration policies, an important issue considering Bankole and fellow frontman Alloysious Massaquoi's African heritage. He lets it go, though, perhaps realising that he's preaching to the converted, and simply asks us if we want to dance before diving into Shame from last year's White Men Are Black Men Too album. In the end, the result is a bit like three kids in a trench coat trying to pass themselves off as an adult. It sways, it dips and there are so many parts moving independently but, man! Once they bring it all together and get to the ticket counter, nobody here is refusing their entry.

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