nice guys andy bull strikes again.
Words by Anthony Nocera Photos by Shannon Gunn
When I interviewed Andy Bull what struck me was how incredibly nice he was. He is one of the nicest people I’ve ever talked to. There is no other adjective I could use (apart from maybe ‘babe/10’). Indeed, his gig at The Gov this past weekend was a night of polite synth-rock, but Andy- when he takes the stage- is much more than nice: he is downright remarkable.
The night began incredibly abruptly with Lanks, who just started playing midway through the DJ’s song. It was a weird and unusual way to start what was a spellbinding set. Once the crowd worked out that what was happening was a support act and not just an over zealous roadie throwing caution to the wind, Lanks delivered his trademark dreamy electronica with ease playing songs off his Thousand Piece Puzzle EP, as well as his latest singles ‘Beach Houses’ and ‘Hold Me Closer’. Armed with a laptop and a guitar, Lanks is all about creating beautifully layered and textured soundscapes for the audience. It was mesmerising to watch; a stunning start to the night, and one that won the Melbournian some new fans.
Next up, after some technical difficulties, were Cub Sport. Playing music from their Paradise EP including crowd favourite ‘Told You So’. Each track was executed to perfection, sounding just as good live as they do recorded. But what was missing was presence from this band: during their set a young teenage couple, who were obviously on a date, walked to the front of the stage. They stood next to each other, awkwardly not touching, not speaking and barely acknowledging that the other existed. Cub Sport live felt a bit like that type of date: safe, subdued and frustratingly sex-less despite having literally all of the ingredients to create fireworks. All of this changed, however, when they launched into a Beyoncè mash-up: the band loosened up and they had the crowd dancing. It was fun, exciting and so unexpected that it floored everyone in the venue. Cub Sport are a great band with great music and a tonne of potential. They just need to own it, and they will be a force to be reckoned with.
After yet more technical difficulties (so many synths never goes well), Andy Bull took the stage and tore through all of the hits from his sophomore album Sea of Approval, as well as some older favourites including his now-legendary cover of ‘Everybody Wants to Rule The World’. Andy, and his brilliant band, didn’t miss a beat throughout the show. The music was just as tight as it is recorded, just as sharp, but it had an edge immediacy that it doesn’t on the record. Sea of Approval comes to life when played live: ‘Baby I’m Nobody Now’, ‘Talk Too Much’ and ‘Keep on Running’ were pure fire.
And then there’s THAT voice. Managing to be sound simultaneously soft, delicate and frighteningly strong, Bull’s vocals filled the venue and were note-perfect all night. For an artist noted for his meticulous studio polish, there is a rawness and power to his live performance that needs to be experienced. He’s been called the new ‘king of synth-pop’ and, while ‘synth-pop’ is a little bit reductive of his genera, there is no denying that Bull is one of the best Aussie acts out there.
This is his last tour before he heads into the studio to work on some new material, so see him now (and stay after the show, because he’ll be more than happy to meet you because he’s the nicest ever… did we mention that?).