The Princess Theatre
Tuesday, June 6th 2023
Tuesday night in Brisbane doesn't typically lend itself to anything energetic from its residents, let alone a show of support for live music - they're happier at home on the couch at the best of times. Yet tonight, The Princess Theatre is at capacity, albeit of a very specific demographic, one that will indeed pay $80 to see two English blokes and their laptop, English expats and an immeasurable amount of lengthy beards and flannel shirts.
To be clear, there's zero disrespect here - picture two men, clad in scrappy shorts and t-shirts, ready to set the stage ablaze with an electrifying performance, electronic post-punk all the way from Nottingham. One of them, Andrew Fearn, takes charge of everything that isn't lead vocals, simply triggering beats and melodies from his trusty computer, his impressive studio technical prowess on show only via the press of the play button. Once the music starts, however, he flips to a boundless kinetic force, not too dissimilar to the once-hip, drunk uncle that shows up late to the backyard party, insisting on starting the dance floor.
Beside him stands Jason Williamson, side profile, leaning into the mic with one hand, clutching a drink in the other. He doesn't say as much as perhaps expected by those who follow his social media, but his moves fit Fearn's grooves in a flamboyant and campy display, all twirly hands on hips and a shoulder throwback, comparable to half a Jagger rooster strut.
On paper, there isn't a lot to write home to Mum about, but boy would she love the show.! In the moment, their act is cause for deeply exuberant joy from this crowd - they're rowdy, but polite, with a complete lack of awareness punctuating their own moves. Pulsating rhythms and sophisticated lo-fi electronica flows from one track to the next like well-oiled machinery, while Williamson barks and squarks at the microphone. His lyrical prowess is loose and witty, not to mention brutal, taking aim at British society and politics at large. You'll hear tales of the every man, direct cracks at Boris Johnson and the voices of Florence Shaw from Dry Cleaning, Amy Taylor from Amyl And The Sniffers, Billy Nomates and Perry Farrell via sampled vocals. The setlist, 25 songs in total, is mostly upbeat and covers majority of new album UK Grim, ignores the likes of Eton Alive while peppering cult highlights from the rest of their catalog throughout. Tuesday night in Brisbane, you go alright after all.