Live Review: I Know Leopard @ The Milk Factory 13.11.15
A generous crowd packed into East Brisbane’s coziest live music venue The Milk Factory to catch I Know Leopard, touring in support of their latest EP “Another Life”. Led by the energetic and cheerful Luke O’Loughlin, the Sydney 5-piece performed a gorgeous set of dreamy indie pop with just enough groove to keep the Friday night revelers entertained.
Charged with warming up the crowd for I Know Leopard was Gold Coast outfit Creature Kind. Fronted by multi-instrumentalist David Baker, they opened with a super fun guitar-pop tune, a surprise given their fashion ranged from skate apparel to smart casual. With three guitar amps and two keyboards the 5-piece barely fit on the cozy Milk Factory stage, not that it fazed them in the slightest as they confidently rolled through their set. Baker’s vocals were a highlight, with his use of a harmonising pedal adding just that little bit extra to Creature Kind’s vocal-dominated choruses. However, their somber Josh Pyke mixed country sound wasn’t the right fit for a Friday night show, with their slow emotive songs such as We Cry and Shadow unfortunately missing the mark with many of the gathered revelers.
Due to the cozy nature of the venue, a somewhat awkward cheer went up for I Know Leopard as they signalled the end of their sound check and the start of their set. After a quick hello the Sydneysiders launched into their set, saturating the crowd in a wave of thick dreamy synth goodness. From the get go they put the Friday night revelers in a trance with lush synth tones, ambient guitar effects, and cruisy vocal melodies. After a few trance inducing songs the edgy syncopated guitar and keyboard parts in Daisy Eyes were a refreshing change up, evoking more of a dance in the crowd than their previous relaxed swaying.
Frontman Luke O’Loughlin was a ball of energy as he somehow sang, layered synth parts, and manipulated backing tracks by twisting a multitude of knobs all the while gleefully shaking a Tambourine. However, his energy was not shared by guitarist Todd Andrews who stood statuesque in the corner of the stage concentrating a little too hard on his ambient and rhythmic guitar parts.
Most eyes though were drawn away from Andrew’s melancholy stage presence and onto keyboardist Jenny McCullagh, who spent equally as much time on her violin playing hooks and counter melodies. Her harmonies with O’Loughlin while simultaneously playing violin were flawless and kept the crowd engaged during dream-soaked choruses and outros.
Hold This Tight put the sway back into the crowd along with plenty of approving cool-guy head nods. The lead single from their “Illumina” EP however was a little disappointing live as a majority of the synth tones and ambience in the chorus was generated by a backing track rather than by the musicians on stage.
With it’s super cute lyrics and fun chorus Close My Eyes was brilliant, with McCullagh’s gorgeous violin embellishments the cherry on top of a beautiful song. It’s overdriven guitar melody in the bridge even put a rare smile on Andrew’s face.
Saving their best till last, the Sydneysiders finished on the lead single off the new EP Picture Perfect. Recorded, the song combines the best aspects from the band’s two EP’s with charming vocals, lush ambience, a beautiful violin hook, and a rare danceable groove. In a live setting this all came together as a sublime pop track backed by a stunning soundscape. Rather than an encore O’Loughlin led the band through an extended psychedelic jam, ending in an implosion of sounds and pleasantly lifting the crowd from their dreamy pop trance.