Live Review: The Ocean Party + Golden Syrup – The Tote, Melbourne (26.05.17)

Playing to an adoring crowd, Golden Syrup and The Ocean Party served up a delightful Friday night filled with seductive sounds at The Tote in Collingwood on May 26th. The cosy, old band room upstairs played the perfect host, creating a laid back atmosphere that complimented the local Melbourne artists.

Kicking off the night was experimental pop act Golden Syrup, the weird and wonderful project from Sara Retallick. Using unique sounds and eerie visuals, Retallick created a moving art piece that exerted the same emotions as a horror film. Gracing the stage in all darkness, with nothing but a lamp shining on the key board and a projector screen illuminating images in the background, Retallick’s set was short but thrilling. Opening with, ‘Didn’t Go Home,’ the track was filled with samples that weaved in and out, from forest rustles to unsettling childlike laughter. The sharp samples cut through the droning bass notes and mystical vocals, playing on the emotions of the listener and creating very confronting sounds. The performance was sinister in a way and ritualistic, but it’s uniqueness made it fascinating to watch.

In contrast, The Ocean Party‘s set was much more relaxed. The six-piece band from Melbourne casually went up on stage and fiddled around with their equipment, slowly getting sorted, then went straight into it. The first thing that was noticeable was that nearly everyone in the band had a guitar. With such a small stage I thought this would get a bit crowded, but it worked. The second, was that the lead vocals were shared. Each band member took it in turns to lead different tracks. At times this provoked inconsistencies, possibly because of the diversity of their vocal styles. However, it fed into the bands strategy of equal structure.

The first half of the set was sprinkled with a few new tracks that the boys were testing out. Whilst the second half saw the band play some of their more well-known songs, which it seemed they were much more comfortable playing. Highlights included, ‘Quarter Life Crisis,” “Guess Work,” and, “Back Bar,” which saw Zac Denton shine on lead vocals.

The second half really emphasised the bands guitar pop sound, and the 80’s inspired synths and delicate touches pumped through, making the cosy crowd sway un-relentlessly. So much so that when the show came to an end, the eager crowd begged for one more song. With no more songs to play, Denton decided to do a quick stand-up comedy set instead and it was amazing. Perfectly polishing off a joyful night.

The Ocean Party will be playing another show at The Tote June 16th supporting FERLA. For more information visit their Facebook page.

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