Words by Eden Campbell.
Photos by Elizabeth Sharpe – Ummagummamumma – Live Music Photography.
It was unseasonably chilly for a Brisbane autumn night. Upon stepping in to the Tivoli, I had been thrust straight in to the dead of winter: Air cons blasting and smoke machines gently seeping out a layer of fog that enveloped the venue. Hauntingly ethereal to behold, much like the music from the bands that brought me here tonight.
Following the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album ‘Langata’ a mere 24 hours prior, indie-electronica trio Crooked Colours were set to perform to a sold out venue, alongside supporting acts Borderland State, Kayex, and Nyxen.
Crooked Colours have been chipping away at the Australian leg of their international tour since Groovin The Moo in April. The band has played to sold out audiences across the country, and will move on to New Zealand before wrapping up the tour in Portland, Oregon this October.
Crooked Colours are Phil Habber, Leon De Baughn, and Liam Merrett Park.
The Perth locals have undoubtedly made their mark in the Australian electronica scene, following the success of their debut album, ‘Vera’ in 2017.
The afterglow of ‘Vera’ has shown no sign of dying off, and has landed the band a staggering and stir-crazy fan base, all-itching to hear the band’s latest offerings. Before their set even began, the amount of people all smooshed in to the Tivoli spoke volumes for the group’s impact. I feel as though the buzz surrounding this band is only going to get louder, and that Crooked Colours are teetering on the brink of an even bigger breakthrough.
“Its always been a dream of ours to play at the Tivoli…and to sell out our first time!” remarked Leon to the crowd, his tone lathered in equal parts gratitude, surprise, and gloat.
In the hours leading up to Crooked Colours set, we heard from three acts that
set the bar for the evening and filled the dance floor with their respective brands of electronica.
Hailing from the Sunshine Coast, Borderland State opened the night., setting the mood with a spoken word introduction, not unlike something you’d hear on a guided meditation. Heavenly chords rang out louder and louder and built up to a woody and wet synth-driven trip hop. A perfect appetiser for the evening, Borderland State’s production and performance were polished and his stage presence was contagious.
Up next were Kayex. They started their set precious and intimate, with rolling synths under sparse and warm guitar. Their Daft Punk-esque vocal arrangements and harmonies were stellar, and their inclination towards gentle glitch was reminiscent of Crooked Colours, themselves. The Perth duo whipped out a Gorillaz cover, and got a roaring response. By this time, the crowd was steadily pouring in.
Before the headliners took to the stage, we heard from Nyxen. The multi-instrumentalist performed bass-heavy covers, as well as some of her own original tracks. Her undeniable cool-girl vibes painted her as the quintessential music producer. Her quiet confidence commanded attention, as did her talent. Already on regular rotation on national radio, I believe that Nyxen is already blossoming in to Australia’s next electro-pop sweetheart.
Crooked Colours set went off with a bang. Quick guitar plucking, and honey like vocals – A signature undercurrent throughout the band’s discography – was contrasted with a Deep House bass line that kept the masses moving. Their lo-fi indie electronica transcended in to a more club-friendly atmosphere and created a dynamic progression that knew exactly when to build and drop.
Mid-set, a down-tempo cover of Baby Bash’s Suga, Suga sent the crowd in to a bump n’ grind and fit seamlessly in to Crooked Colours’ dynamics. You would be forgiven for thinking that it was one of their original songs, rather than a cover.
The trio kept plugging away, peppering their set with songs from their new album, including singles Do It Like You and Hold On, all brought to life by the psychedelic, yet minimal lighting schemes going on in the background.
Crooked Colours put on a phenomenal performance, simultaneously high-energy and stoic. Having undergone somewhat of a sonic evolution between ‘Vera’ and ‘Langata’, Crooked Colours still manage effortlessly straddle the line between dark ambience and pop-esque electro. All three of the opening acts helped to deliver a feeling of complete immersion, as each act brought their own unique, yet cohesive narrative. The evening was drenched in colour and richness, as we were all invited to melt away into buttery, shimmering atmosphere, pinned underneath a thumping bass line.