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Live Review: Client Liaison @ The Triffid

© Tom Sue Yek

Last Saturday, The Triffid in Brisbane was transformed into a corporate office from the late 80s – Giant shining water coolers and fake ferns stood guard over the stage, while the sold out crowd of ‘stakeholders’ gathered beneath sported a variety of retro sun visors, fluro ski jackets, Hawaiian shirts, and scrunchies. Why all the outdated hoo-ha? Melbourne dance duo Client Liaison were about to send everyone gathered on the grooviest and beat driven nostalgia trip ever presented by men wearing pastel suits, costume earrings, and a ridiculous amount of bling.

Monte (singer) and Harvey (producer) jogged onstage to a deafening applause, and a few wolf whistles, before a perfectly choreographed high-five set off their opening banger That’s Desire. Bassist Tom Tilley (yeah, the guy from triple j’s HACK) and guitarist Geordie Miller quickly joined the duo before Monte delivered the first lyrics of the night, “She’s a gift of tight jeans and limousines”. The crowd instantly broke into a variety of dancing, and screaming back the usual whispered call and response of “that’s desire, that’s desire”.

Client Liaison describe themselves as “International in flavour, cosmopolitan in style”, but in a live setting they’re more like late “80s exercise tape in flavour, club-anthems in style”. This may not sound enticing to the uninitiated, but it actually makes for one of the most entertaining live shows you’ll ever see. Monte’s loveable over-the-top gestures and acting combined with questionable almost satirical lyrics are the cherry on top of irresistible beats, groovy bass lines, and lead guitar that balances shredding and clichéd 80’s rock phrasing perfectly.

© Tom Sue Yek

Pretty Lovers gave the sold-out crowd their first sing along and provided some airtime for Miller to rip some pretty sweet lead guitar embellishments where additional synthesisers usually fill. The simple vocal melody also allowed Monte to execute some pretty awesome dance moves which included microphone throws, the wave, and ending with a choreographed triangle (think ol’-school spy formation) with Tilley and Miller.

Monte commanded us to “Don’t fight that good feeling, yeah?” before jumping on a small synth to introduce fan favourite Feeling. In an interview we had with the duo earlier in the day, Monte says they’re always looking to add or change things to their songs. So it was a welcome surprise Feeling was rearranged to slowly build intensity, compared to its original continuous dance vibe.

Monte’s crooning had the crowd, and the several girls perched on shoulders, absolutely transfixed. The spell was eventually broken with the introduction of song’s original deep pulsating synth bass, setting the crowd into mass slow groove. A short slapping bass solo from Tilley received a loud roar from the crowd before Monte finished the song in a position of prayer…because why not?

© Tom Sue Yek

Foreign Affair, an unreleased track, brought the vocalist from support act GL onstage for a truly amazing duet with Monte. Both singers played their parts flawlessly, starting with plenty of over-the-top arm movements and ending with them intimately looking into each other’s eyes and falling into one another’s arms. It was more musical theatre than a club banger, but it was highly entertaining watching them perfectly portray the song’s lyrical content.

Some quick banter between the duo, “Hey Monte, I think we should turn it up! Yeah, let’s hit the D-Floor Harvey!”, led to their most infectious beat-heavy track Feed The Rhythm. The brooding rhythm and driving bass opened up to an explosion of dancing, with most of the crowd too busy busting moves to bother singing along.

A quick costume change saw Monte return to the stage for Queen dressing in a glittery-tasseled jacket, making him look somewhere in-between young Bob Dylan and character in ‘Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’. Monte somehow starting incorporating even more dancing and pop-star gestures into his performance, which received a mixture of applause and giggles. Continuing his loveably strange conversation with the crowd, Monte ended Queen which “who’s got the royal flush baby?”. It made sense to some of the crowd…

© Tom Sue Yek

Their latest single World of Our Love got everyone jumping, dancing, and singing into Monte’s outstretched microphone “nothing but time blown away”. Again the duo played with their song structure with the song ending in a groovy jam and a long-awaited keyboard solo from Harvey.

The duo came back after an encore shout wearing glorious matching diamante and fluro jackets. An incredible didgeridoo intro by Monte (yeah, a DIDGERIDOO!) opened into another fan favourite Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight. The combination of the deep bass and Monte’s gyrating hips put all inhibitions “on ice” and turned The Triffid into a great big very dorky looking rave.

A short cover of Michael Jackson’s Black Or White surprised many and turned the rave into a light-hearted boogey. The absolute highlight of the night has to go to Harvey, who jumped out from behind the decks to delivery an awesome rap version of the “I ain’t scared of…” verse, which almost left The Triffid crowd speechless. The cover ended with all four members in quality choreographed dancing, which the crowd watched in a mixture of awe and amusement. The set ended, a little too early, with End of the Earth, which serves as a final club banger for the crowd to get in just one more move.

Client Liaison are truly one of Australian most unique contemporary acts, with a live show unrivalled in energy by any other electronic act. Even though they were only onstage for around an hour, I don’t thing anyone left The Triffid without sweat in their hair and a wearing a stupidly big grin.

Check out our Photo Gallery HERE

Client Liaison ‘World Of Our Love’ Tour Dates

The Metro, Sydney
Uni Bar, Wollongong
The Workers Club, Geelong
The Forum Theatre, Melbourne
The Forum Theatre, Melbourne
The Fat Controller, Adelaide

Get Tickets HERE

Photos by Tom Sue Yek