Hermitude seize the improvised element of a live rock show and run it through their own, and the effect is captivating. All I could think is why aren’t they performing at an overseas festival right now.*
Sydney’s Enmore Theatre crowd was rowdy an hour before the duo even took to the stage, thanks to warm-up acts Jayteehazard and Basenji. The whole night felt like a celebration of this decade (or what we’ve had so far) in Australian music – with tracks like Flume’s ‘Slasherr’ remix and Basenji’s ‘Heirloom’ prepping up the room.
Hermitude have smoothed out their live show since their last hometown gig in 2013 – instead of a clear stop between tracks, their act now ebbs and flows through different dynamics, much like their latest album, Dark Night Sweet Light.
They also have an animated visuals setup, which complements their music, travelling from exotic, tropical rainforests to white sandy coastlines and underwater coral reefs. At points, it looked like something out of Spirited Away with an oversized caterpillar and forest silhouettes. Again, I feel like this would translate well overseas, if not just as a celebration of Australian landscapes.
We started singing along early on when the duo played ‘Searchlight’ (“looking for a change/ Tell what I’m looking for”) interspersed with ‘All Of You’s well-known sample refrain (“hey baby baby”). Despite the continuity of their set (both looked like they were hard at work on the decks, this was no typical EDM gig), El Gusto was scratching throughout and we got a glimpse of it on their trademark over-the-shoulder GoPro-like footage. There was an energy only a full house home crowd could provide, which led other-half of Hermitude, Luke Dubs, to exclaim, “Sydney, Sydney, Sydney… what a beautiful reception.”
The two played a flashback medley, including their Lion King remix into the track that got their name out, .Hyperparadise’. It suddenly felt like we were at a festival, with hundreds of people clapping along, cheering on their friend’s shoulders and enjoying the moment sans iPhones. And just like a festival, whenever the boys leaned into the mic, the crowd screamed. Everyone was expecting to have a good time and so they did. But despite the rowdiness, there was actually quite a lot of breathing space up front – no one seemed too aggressive.
While the show was part of their current album tour, Hermitude didn’t shy away from playing old favourites, including the ‘Hyperparadise’ Flume remix following their original and ‘Speak of the Devil.’ As usual, Hermitude brought out special guests and vocalists onto the stage, with Mataya and Young Tapz adding to regular Chaos Emerald. It kind of felt like old mates were running the music at a house party – checking in occasionally but mainly leaving us to dance on our own.
In true rock star fashion, they saved the best for last – signing off with new single ‘The Buzz’ before returning for an encore performance of 2012’s ‘Get In My Life.’ They may have sold out venues across the country but the duo still have their attitude in check, asking us to put our middle fingers up and party till the sunrise before the curtains went down.
*With follow-up research I found that Hermitude will play at the Hard Summer festival in Los Angeles in August.
Photos by Mikki Gomez. Full Gallery is HERE.