Live Review: Alpine + Pearls + Olympia – Metro Theatre, Sydney (10.07.15)

It’s not often that a band will introduce a song by ordering the audience to dance more expressively, “not just this bopping up and down” as Phoebe from Alpine did. She momentarily turned the attention away from their colourful stage presence to the night as a whole. Despite joining fellow vocalist Lou in an uninhibited performance – playing with the mics, kicking, dancing and at times even rolling on the floor, she also wanted the audience to join in on the fun.

First, warm-up acts Olympia and Pearls took to the stage. Olympia performed solo on a stage full of equipment, but confidently switched from guitar, to keyboard, all the while filling the room with her commanding voice. Her Sia-ish haircut and metallic jumpsuit set the scene for the costumes to come from the Alpine girls. Pearls have a different style, dressed in black with rebel lyrics to match: “I got no soul and I got no money.” The venue was packed by 9:30pm and their set loud and solid from the get go.

We could only expect eccentric showmanship to come from the night’s headliners, and even before their own set began, Alpine surprised us sauntered on with hip hop classic in the background, ‘International Players Anthem.’ At first, ABBA came to mind when I saw Phoebe’s floor-length golden gown and Lou’s huge black arm ruffles. Their energy was insistent; from start to finish the two front women were jumping up and down, blowing kisses into the audience and waving their hands. All of which recalls the playful, party atmosphere of other eccentric indie bands Arcade Fire or Architecture in Helsinki.

They kicked off their set with ‘Crunches’ and stuck mostly to tracks off their June release Yuck. The record came to life when guest instrumentalists came on stage, two trumpeters on ‘Shot Fox’ and two violinists for ‘Foolish.’ Despite the two vocalists taking up most of the attention (it seems there is room for two big personalities on the same stage), the other four band members looked like they were having just as good a time, bopping up and down on the keyboard, singing along and slamming drumsticks.

By the end of the set, Phoebe and Lou set aside any nonchalance they had previously created from walking on stage to the Players Anthem and began to proclaim their love for Sydney by dedicating one track after the other to the audience. Unfortunately, some of their vocals were lost in the electronic production and background instrumentals on ‘Jellyfish’. However, their energy levels never dropped. Phoebe claimed, “I feel like I’m floating on a love balloon” and Lou thanked the audience “for understanding the weird and the wonderful.” It would have been a confusing affair for anyone new to Alpine but a gig to remember none the less.

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