At Trinity Bar, Saturday June 2
On a cold and rainy Saturday night, the kind Canberra does horrendously well, Trinity Bar was host to a special show. Courtesy of PANG! the three-strong, electronic, multi-instrumentalist group came to town for the first time ever. The group had recently played a well-received show at the Sydney Opera house as part of the acclaimed Vivid festival, and local expectations for the guys’ sweet, ambient sounds were high. Trinity seemed like an appropriate intimate venue, tickets were well-priced and around 4,000 people had joined on the Facebook event page. It was set to be a good night.
Despite all this and the exciting sight of Seekae’s gear set up at the ‘stage’ in Trinity, there were a few factors that set the show off kilter. The weather probably didn’t assist the cause. More importantly, the supports were individually impressive but didn’t provide a suitable lead-up to the main act.
Eldred got things started early with some house and bass. Celebrity Sex Tape dropped a nice mix of tunes including a favourite by recent Trinity visitors Flume. A crowd started seeping inside, filling up seats and mingling on the floor. Drinks were flowing but not as fast as they could, probably due to the prices and student crowd.
Next up, Ced Nada’s confident, unique style was a pleasure to listen to and got some people moving instinctively. His set was a varied pack of genres – bass, dub step, some club tunes, a juke classic Footcrab from Addison Groove (aka Headhunter) and of course HudMo’s Cbat, which went down well with the crowd. As midnight approached the room was split in two. A crowd getting down to Ced Nada’s tunes filled up one side and especially eager Seekae fans squeezed themselves into rows at the other end of the room.
The problem presented itself here – Ced Nada’s set was fresh and heavy… maybe too much so. There was a small part of the crowd that looked like they wanted to be in Civic by now getting hammered on vodka Redbulls and what came next made them tilt their heads and say, ‘Well… this is weird’. Direct quote.
Seekae played a combination of old tunes (The Sound Of Trees Falling On People) and tracks from their new album (+DOME). These tended to have more vocals and a less-electronica more-indie flavour to them. Their sound was clever and weaved together with keyboards, electric drums, melodica and live vocal sampling. However, a few things didn’t click. The set seemed a little stilted, played track-by-track and hard to differentiate from the recorded versions – these guys would surely know how to improv in the nicest ways so why didn’t they? There wasn’t a lot of energy happening by this stage – it was a bit wet and a bit late for Seekae’s loose, dreamy vibes and the fact you couldn’t see the band behind the fourth row made it feel even less immediate. Still, things peaked for Seekae’s killer, beat-laden tracks like Void and they ended on a high note with the crowd-pleasing 3.
After Seekae, Offtapia vs Cheese jumped in with some techno and bass which kept the crowd for a while.
I wouldn’t have minded seeing Seekae supported by something lower key like experimental electronica or even a chilled indie band. That way they would have headlined as a sonic peak of sorts and their precision, subtlety and mellow romantics could have been better appreciated. Nonetheless, all the acts were good, the vibe was enthusiastic and Seekae delivered something new and thoughtful to the Canberra crowd. I hope they come again.