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Live Review: Gang Of Youths w/ Gordi @ Tivoli – 31.08.2017

Sydney rockers Gang of Youths proved several things during the first Brisbane show of their ‘Go Farther In Lightness’ tour on Thursday night, the first being their uncanny ability to draw a large and diverse crowd. Outside the Tivoli, hordes of fans wearing everything from Hawaiian shirts to dad jumpers watched as vigilant security guards unearthed flasks of alcohol in bags and poured the contents into the street. Inside, the room was buzzing even an hour before the main act was due to hit the stage. The second truth: patience will be rewarded.

Amidst building volume and flowing drinks, a flood of hot pink stage lights announced Sydney indie songstress Gordi and her band. At the age of 24, Gordi retains the youthful presence of a high school prodigy with bucket loads of passion. After a few minutes onstage, seeming completely lost in the performance, she was playing as if she were alone in a dimly lit room rather than on a colour-drenched stage before a crowd of hundreds.

From opening track Myriad to joyous finale Work It Out, Gordi’s facial expressions made for a striking performance, surpassed only by sudden outbursts of deep, rumbling synthesiser melodies. Most amongst the mixed crowd found themselves absorbed in her subtle inflections, and although others seemed more entwined with their alcoholic concoctions, the raw emotion made the lyrics seem fresh in the moment.

Gordi’s band were the linebackers to her quarterback through crowd favourites Wanting, Heaven I Know, and Here We Are, although there was often more beauty in her solo moments. Her ability with microphone effects and technical layering was impressive, but nothing quite topped the physical and emotional sway amongst the crowd, an impassioned response to a passionate performance. With an empty stage swelled anticipation around the room, replaced by elation when, after a small infinity, five silhouettes sauntered out. After a symphony of lights and violins Brisbane knew the show to follow would be worth the wait.

Gang of Youths launched into their hit single What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out, filling it with as much guitar shredding, head banging, and group sing-a-longs as possible, and the noise was deafening. The band’s charismatic frontman Dave Le’aupepe raised energy and intensity in the room from the very beginning of the show, and although his theatrical facial expressions were deserving of their own paragraph, they seemed less unusual by the second number. The pushing and pulling in the mosh pit subsided after a heated third track, allowing the crowd to appreciate the band’s softer side. The room was hot and only set to get hotter with the crowd working almost as hard as the band to keep the energy up.

Full of inspirational highs and crushing lows, the show was up and down like a yoyo, and yet everything seemed to fall into place. The drifting suspense of Keep Me In The Open sent hands and shoulder-riders into the air before the emotional impact of Knuckles White Dry, Le’aupepe’s touching story of love and death, had some in tears.

Le’aupepe’s stage strut in Let Me Down Easy more or less cemented his title as star of the show, as well as creating an opportunity to bask in the glow of the amorous Brisbanites around him. Followed by the glorified crowd sing-a-long that was The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows, it wasn’t much longer before the show seemed to fuse into a singing, dancing, crowd-surfing extravaganza.

Three things stood out about the Brisbane leg of the ‘Go Farther In Lightness’ tour: first, Le’aupepe’s chops for motivational speaking, a dialogue that left every person in that room inspired. Second, the pure emotional impact of Knuckles White Dry. Third, Le’aupepe’s performance of The Heart Is A Muscle, a few minutes filled to the brim with pure joy.

After several hours of standing, jumping, grinning, and crying, energy was waning amongst the crowd, but no one was willing to leave before the show was well and truly over. When that moment came, the band left the stage looking just as overjoyed as when they first surfaced, and Brisbane left with memories not likely to be forgotten in a hurry.

Written by Jess Martyn