Someone really didn’t want Northeast Party House‘s (NEPH) Perth Factory Festival show to happen. The gig was rescheduled four times due to COVID-19 restrictions, eventually going ahead in the shadow of Perth going into lockdown at midnight that evening.
But the party went ahead, with NEPH hitting the stage at 9:30pm, two-and-a-half hours before Perth’s lockdown officially started.
In that context, the sold-out show was vastly different to what they’d envisaged with plenty of locals opting to stay home, given the health advice. At a guess, venue Metro City was less than a quarter, with punters adorned in masks, along with guitarist Jack Shoe.
On an evening that promised so much (the Friday night of a long weekend), the situation created an eerie feeling so it was up to NEPH to somehow reverse that vibe.
And that task for the band members was made harder by the fact they’d journeyed all the way to WA for one show and had learned that afternoon they’d need to quarantine for a fortnight upon their return to Melbourne. Their Shelf Life tour then kicks off in Melbourne on May 15.
The good news was those fans who had opted to take up their tickets and turn out at Metro City wanted to be there and wanted to have fun. You could feel that immediately upon opening track ‘Any Given Weekend’.
As vocalist Zach Hamilton-Reeves said after two songs: “We’ve gotta go into lockdown when we get home so we might as well have fun tonight!”
As a sextet NEPH offer a lot of energy live and that was evident throughout led by Hamilton-Reeves and the newly engaged Shoe, who put plenty into a cowbell solo.
The LCD Soundsystem-like driving crescendos and Kasabian-esque bassy build-ups really make NEPH awesome live. It’s an all-in effort that is contagious (pun intended).
With their new album Shelf Life, they’ve now amassed quite a few big dance-floor hits, including ‘Magnify’ and ‘Dominos’ which got the crowd loose and moving.
There was even time for Shoe to lead a cover of Blink 182‘s 90’s hit ‘Dammit’ which felt out of place but was still mighty fun.
Their older tracks like ‘For You’ and ‘Calypso Beach’ from 2016 debut LP Dare have a more subdued Rufus Du Sol feel but were equally enjoyed by their loyal fans. The latter was the highlight of the show, with glistening red and green lights surrounding Hamilton-Reeves with outstretched arms upon the bass drop.
You could tell there was some electricity missing from Friday’s show, for obvious reasons, given the impending quarantine period they faced and disappointment at having their long-awaited show depleted in attendance, but there was enough energy to leave no one disappointed.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Northeast Party House’s Shelf Life tour with Benson is as follows:
15/5 The Forum, Melbourne (early session)
15/5 The Forum, Melbourne (late session sold out)
21/5 The Tivoli, Brisbane (early session)
21/5 The Tivoli, Brisbane (late session sold out)
27/5 Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
28/5 Factory Theatre, Sydney (early session)
28/5 Factory Theatre, Sydney (late session sold out)