Walking towards Coolangatta hotel it was hard not to notice the particularly mammoth tour bus out the front. Instantly I thought to myself, ‘Hmmm not bad for a hump day let’s hope this is worth getting out of the house on a cold, winters night for” Not only was I right, but I had a night filled with copious amounts of head banging and a sore throat the next day from singing along with the rest of the crowd that was huddled together at Cooly Hotel.
First to hit the stage was the solo project from The Cairos front man Alistar Richardson, Zefrereli. The shared vocals between male and female really complimented their smooth melodic pop tunes. As I Know Leopard got ready to perform, the excitement brought everyone in from the cold and the room quickly began to fill with bodies.
From the angle we were standing it was easy to get a peak backstage, and the perfect view of I Know Leopard jumping and dancing around before their set. To complete the apparent ritual they then placed all their hands together in the middle before shooting them up in the air, reiterating their strong bond which was obvious during their performance.
Incorporating an array of instruments; such as the violin and tambourine, the band couldn’t have sounded better. Playing their take on TLC’s hit Waterfalls followed by Close my eyes off their latest EP; they finished off by playing the hugely popular track Perfect Picture which led the audience into a sing along.
Gang of Youths hit the stage and were straight into Restraint and Release with so much energy and enthusiasm. The stage appeared to be a second home to these guys with each song building and swelling as the tunes went from band to acoustic. Front-man Dave Leaupepe had no problem adjusting his vocals effortlessly. The performance was tight and the band was strong. When the band played their popular track Benevolence Riots the room echoed as the crowd sang along. Maintaining eye contact, Leaupepe constantly kept the audience entertained – at one point I genuinely believed Leaupepe was serenading me and only me, his eye contact was that intense. Referring to the track Magnolia Leaupepe said “This songs about being right here and playing in front of cool people, in no cosmos universe were we expecting this to happen, and be here, we were expecting 30 FUKN people so this is really cool!” showing just how humble and grateful they were for the crowd support.
When the band left the stage the crowd roared for an encore. Leaupepe returned solo to play Knuckles White Dry, a song about a heartbreaking drive home, which was the most emotive song for the night. As Leaupepe strummed his guitar the crowd hissed at people brave enough to make a peep. All eyes were on him as he sang the lines “If I hear another ‘I love you, get well’ from someone we don’t know or that I didn’t tell, then I swear that I’ll show them a vision of hell; it gets tiresome you know.” The band rejoined him on stage, walking past Leaupepe they gently tapped him on the shoulder, as if to let him know that they were there for him after his tear jerking performance.
GOY’s passion is overt and instils their reputation as an incredible live act, if you haven’t seen them yet I suggest you get on it because it won’t be long before this band is selling out stadiums.
Photography - Jake Wilton