Live Review: Blondie + The Stranglers + Machinations - Enmore Theatre (06.12.12)

The mega famous Blondie have caused a stir surrounding this year’s Homebake and ahead of their appearance as the festivals first non-Australian headliners they have brought along two bands from the era in which they dominated, Machinations and The Stranglers, to show the Enmore Theatre that no one does it quite like the oldies.

Being one of Sydney’s best and most well-known 80’s bands, Machinations opened the night up with some old-school dance that instantly won me over. It was interesting to hear the blueprint for popular Aussie dance bands such as The Presets and Cut Copy in songs like ‘Pressure Sway,’ the veterans feeling no need to update their sound, instead keeping it as authentic and vintage-sounding as it is when you listen to one of their recordings; a perfect start to the night.

Next up were The Stranglers with their fair share of hits to strike up nostalgia. What was the most surprising was how heavy their sound was compared to their recordings, while songs like their biggest hit ‘Golden Brown’ rely heavily on a dark, moody atmosphere, their live interpretations were much more arena-rock. This gave new life to their songs, like their version of ‘Walk on by’ which was the highlight of their set.

Roadies quickly scrambled around on stage to move things into place for Debby Harry to strut out on stage, following guitarist Chris Stein and the rest of the band to an rapturous applause. Eat to the Beat single ‘Dreaming’ was our introduction to the set and set the pace for the night, not unlike The Stranglers, surprising with a much heavier live sound than their recordings.

Throughout the first few songs, Debby didn’t seem to move from her position on stage but as the more popular hits started rolling, beginning with ‘Call Me,’ the iconic front-woman began to show a more playful side. With her pushing 70, the vitality on display was amazing, Debbie often toying with the crowd and teasing them with short bursts of crowd interaction, coupled with some strange dancing from Chris Stein.

Their most recent album, 2011’s Panic of Girls was represented well with ‘What I Heard’ and ‘Mother’ both standing strong against established songs like ‘Rapture,’ for which the controversial rap was performed with ease, and ‘One Way or Another,’ the brightest highlight and main set closer.

A few interesting surprises were thrown into the set, a pretty great cover of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Lights,’ a brief rendition of ‘No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn,’ and a nod to Frankie Goes to Hollywood with a nice cover of ‘Relax.’

Expected closer ‘Heart of Glass’ made a huge impact on the audience, marred only by the few audience members attempting to drown out Debby’s vocals with their own, but nonetheless was as much of a gem live in 2012 as it would have been back in 1979.

And with that, we were left with having ticked an icon off our “to see live’’ list and did not leave the Enmore disappointed.