When I saw Client Liaison for the first time live at Groovin’ The Moo this past April, I was blown away. The enigmatic frontman Monte Morgan had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, solidifying the two-turned-four piece band as the act of the day. With such high standards, I was genuinely concerned that such a positive recollection of their show was due to the festival vibes I was inevitably feeling on the day – there was no way they could have been that good, it must be the cider. But as they marched on stage with matching 80s tuxedo’s, the crowd furiously cheering, I knew that my spectacular encounter with this band wasn’t just a once off – it was the real thing.
For days prior to their Metro Theatre show, I had raved to my friend about their performance; “It’s ridiculous”, I would say, “You won’t believe your eyes.” As they opened with the enchanting “That’s Desire”, treating the crowd to their infamous choreographed dancing, I turned to her. “Was I overstating how good they are?” I said. She replied with three words – “Not one bit.”
As I searched through the crowd, it became hard to find one person who wasn’t dancing their heart out (this isn’t synonymous with dancing well, however). With the onslaught of crowd favourites “Pretty Lovers” and “Feeling”, fans were merrily disobeying security guard orders, preferring to stay atop of their friend’s shoulders instead of perched safely on the floor. At one point I spotted a security guard actually trying to take a girl off her friends shoulders, only to have them merrily dance away. Negative vibes were non-existent – the kids of Sydney were preoccupied with other things tonight.
As the performance came to an end, they left the stage, the audience begging for more. Not to disappoint, the four piece strutted back on stage – with a costume change, no less. Morgan, now donning a sequined cape, held a didgeridoo in his hands. On the drums and electronics out back, Harvey Miller poignantly dedicated the following song to the traditional owners of the land – a move that brought a politicised element to the show. Such a move is characteristic of Client Liaison – it’s easy to see the band quite simply as a fun time, but they’re equally strong when it comes to providing stimulating commentary on the Australian political system.
Such a sentiment found itself within the track “Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight”, the screen behind them depicting videos of previous PM’s (it’s of little surprise that an amass of ‘boos’ were heard when John Howard appeared on screen). But they were back to their fun selves in moments, covering Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”, a surprise move that brought an onslaught of cheers. To finish off this night was a personal favourite of mine, “End Of The Earth”, providing a groovy, critical analysis of Australian culture.
These guys have come a long, long way in the past few years. But I’d be inclined to say that as of right now, they’re one of the strongest live acts to come out of Australia – perhaps even the world.
Am I over exaggerating? There’s a possibility. But do I believe what I’m saying? Without a doubt.
Photos: Gwendolyn Lee