Words by Eden Campbell.
Photos by Luke Sangiorgio. Full gallery HERE.
This past Friday, The Tivoli hosted one of the countries most influential and talked about funk artists –Winston Surfshirt. With what seemed to be the quintessential crop of supporting artists, the evening was set to be a big one.
Brisbane local Tiana Khasi was the first to take to The Tivoli’s stage. The turn out was already promising, and steadily increasing throughout her set. Khasi’s voice was stellar, her instrumentals were tastefully genre bending, making for a distinctive, elegant, and polished sound.
Milan Ring took to the stage before Winston Surfshirt. The multi-instrumentalist commanded the attention of the room with a simple flick of her wrist. Her minimal and intimate set up, coupled with her infectious and vulnerable R&B stylings were a testament to her growing reputation.
Magenta lights flooded the stage as the 6 piece stepped out to a packed audience. The sombre and beachey horns of Henry Mancini’s Lujon played over the PA as the band took to their respective instruments. With a few additional trombone slides from horn player, The Bone, Lujon melted away into the collective’s buttery opener For The Record. This single was the band’s first release since their debut album ‘Sponge Cake’, picking up right where its predecessor left off, dressed to the nines in Surfshirt’s token fuzzy and raw brand of ‘Adidas funk’. For The Record is arguably the best exemplifier of Surfshirt’s ethos – preaching peace and love through a charismatic and carefree air.
As the set went on, Winston led each song with a kind of charm that had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand: If anyone had the preconception that Surfshirt’s type of music would garner an easy-going response from the crowd, it was quickly dashed as punters began to move like crazy. The mezzanine was packed to the rafters, and people began to pile on to each other’s shoulders – like towers comprised entirely of vintage threads and glitter.
The band blared out their latest release Make A Move and the boys showed off their finely tuned stage presence with an effortlessly executed crowd surfing moment from the front man, himself. Throughout the night, we heard cult favourite Ali D – a track that boasted the highest amount of plays on Triple J for two consecutive weeks. Another highlight of the evening was their cover of Christina Aguilera’s Genie In A Bottle – Without deviating too far away from the bare bones of the original, the collective was able to bring their own zesty flavour to it, balancing bouncy percussion with soft, sleepy synths.
As the set drew to an end, the Winston Surfshirt boys wrapped up with Get to Know, their collaboration with Cosmo’s Midnight, and finally encored with the sexy, Anderson Paak-esque Be About You.
Winston Surfshirt have just wrapped up the Baked Goods tour. Next stop is Splendour In The Grass.