Back You are here: Home Reviews Live Review: The Kite String Tangle, Elroy, Motion Picture Actress @ Black Bear Lodge 07.11.13

Live Review: The Kite String Tangle, Elroy, Motion Picture Actress @ Black Bear Lodge 07.11.13

Elroy

Defining ‘live music’ is becoming increasingly difficult with the wider range of music styles now popular amongst the masses, the most notable being electronic music. I always find the best indication as to what kind of music everybody will be raving about during the year to be the line-up for Laneway Festival. Last year’s line-up was certainly a nod in the direction of electronic music and this year is no different with New Zealander Lorde headlining. This is where popular music is going, but I’m not sure it is where live music should go.

I went down to Black Bear Lodge on Thursday the 7th of November to check out some live electronic music acts, but when I first walked into Black Bear I didn’t even realise anybody was playing. The place was scattered with a few early comers, but mostly empty. I wandered to the back of the bar to find a seat and surely enough there was somebody on stage, but nobody watching. The only person looking at the stage, apart from myself, was a lone girl standing in the centre of the room, staring lovingly up at Thomas Brydon, the solo artist behind the first act of the night, Motion Picture Actress (I presume she was a friend). The sound of Motion Picture Actress differs from more commercially viable acts like The Kite String Tangle, in that there are no vocals and the songs dreamily blend in and out of each other – not exactly radio-friendly. This doesn’t mean it is any better. In fact, I would have to say this kind of music should probably be reserved for a chill-out at home, with headphones on so that one can hear the complexities of what Brydon is actually doing on stage, which are mostly lost in the live arena. The only person who seems to be having fun is Byrdon himself as he bobs his head up and down with the music, whilst everybody else stands in clumps and clusters and chats animatedly to their friends.

Motion Picture Actress

Motion Picture Actress, Photo: Aimee Catt

Nothing much changes when Elroy 4.0 takes the stage, except more groups of people have arrived, still completely ignoring the live set. Elroy 4.0’s style is similar to Motion Picture Actress, a combination of hip-hop influenced beats and chilled out songs that recall a lazy summer day. However, that seems to be the more appropriate setting for this kind of music, which is why the audience are not that fussed about paying any attention. The only point in the night at which things liven up is when the man behind The Kite String Tangle, Danny Harley, is on stage. By this point the entire room has filled out, with punters squeezed into every corner - corners and chasms I didn’t think existed in Black Bear Lodge. Harley starts his set with a mellow song accented by light keyboard and strings. People immediately go crazy and although it is a nice song I don’t think it is the kind of song people really need to scream and cheer at.

Pictures: The Kite String Tangle, Elroy, Motion Picture Actress live at Black Bear Lodge Brisbane

Kite string

The Kite String Tangle, Photo: Aimee Catt

After his first song Harley greets the audience, joking, “you can tell this is a headline show because I have my own table with my own wine.” Apart from the more engaging songs, Harley’s cheeky chit-chat with the audience is what sets him apart from his predecessors and is precisely why he has the big crowd - he connects with his audience. His self-deprecating chatter in-between songs feels genuine and helps everybody relax after the rather rigid sets from Motion Picture Actress and Elroy 4.0. This is the first show of the tour so it’s no surprise that Harley is particularly nervous and using humour to get through the night, but it’s an approach that works, and one I hope doesn’t disappear or become faked when the fame that he is surely on the cusp of is fully realised.

It is also important to recognize that The Kite String Tangle is hardly in the same category of electronica as the previous artists. Although the music may fall under the same broad label of ‘experimental electronic,’ there is really little experimental or ground-breaking about The Kite String Tangle’s songs. They are pop songs in structure and style that happen to have electronic influences fused throughout them, but they are not experimental. But this is not to say they are bad, in fact, I enjoyed Harley’s songs far more than the other acts, but this is probably because they are more accessible and his performance was more engaging. But I don’t believe it should be labelled as something it really isn’t.

kite string

The Kite String Tangle, Photo: Aimee Catt

Danny Harley’s Kite String Tangle show becomes one of sing-alongs, laughter and dancing – everything a live set should be, even though his predecessors had demonstrated that perhaps electronic music was best left at home. Highlights include a song called, ‘Commotion,’ complimented by heavy, dramatic synthesisers, a cover of Lorde’s ‘Tennis Court,’ and of course, the title single ‘Given The Chance,’ which perfectly closes the show. With his exciting, energetic performance Danny Harley proves me wrong about electronic music played live -any kind of music can be made fun and engaging when performed live if there is a performance, an element that was unfortunately absent with the other two artists who simply stood on stage and expected their audience to do all th

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