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Gig Review: Northeast Party House, July 3 @ Alhambra Lounge

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on July 6, 2014

After releasing their highly-anticipated debut album in May, Melbourne’s Northeast Party House have been touring the country showcasing their incredible aptitude for live performance. I caught the Brisbane leg of the tour on Thursday, in what was a phenomenal set of high-energy dance-rock and the inimitable vocal prowess of frontman Zach Hamilton-Reeves.

Supporting Northeast Party House was local indie pop four-piece Babaganouj. Given the ubiquity of their lineup (two guitars, bass, drums) and the abundance of familiar elements in their music, it would be easy for Babaganouj to slide into mediocrity – an insignificant drop in Brisbane’s overflowing indie cup. Pleasingly, this is not the case. The combined vocals of Harriette Pilbeam, Charles Sale and Ruby McGregor distinguish the band from its contemporaries, adding depth that is sadly lacking in many other comparable indie ventures. On Thursday night, Babaganouj displayed a wonderful exuberance and a solid catalogue of songs, including their current single, Too Late for Love.  They closed their set with a delightful rendition of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, a choice that demonstrated not only their musical ability, but their excellent sense of humour, something that is invaluable when fostering a fan base in a saturated genre.

Sometimes, bands don’t sound anything like their name suggests. For example, Band of Skulls, as my housemate recently noted, sound like they should be a death metal group. The legendary Joy Division made music that, while groundbreaking and incredibly influential, was far from joyful. Northeast Party House, however, are exactly what you’d expect. Party is perhaps not even a worthy noun for this band’s sheer dynamism and indelible knack for producing pounding dance-rock anthems. If you are ever presented with the opportunity of seeing these guys live, do not miss it. Thursday saw them delivering rollicking selections from their recent debut album, Any Given Weekend, as well as several old favourites.

To describe their sound would not do them justice, but you could start by imagining a less serious Bloc Party with a healthy injection of techno and an effortless swagger. Highlights of their superb set included Embezzler and current single The Haunted, as well as Pascal Cavalier (which is, frankly, a masterpiece), and the explosive Youth Allowance, to which not a single person failed to chant along. All in all, Northeast Party House proved themselves yet again as a shining, genre-transcending light in Australian live music.

Posted in Gigs, Music, Scenewave

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