Reviewed on Saturday June 14
It seems like Safia have gained win after win on the Australian electronic scene this year, from securing their place in triple j’s Hottest 100 to earning the support slot on Lorde’s upcoming Australian tour. So it was no shock, really, when they packed out Spectrum for a single release show on Saturday for their eerie track ‘Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds’.
The spooky sounds of Sydney band Twin Caverns opened the show, with vocal effects splitting octaves on Louise Millar’s melodies. The duo made for an ambient atmosphere, though sometimes it was a little vague when lyrics got lost in the echoey effects.
Akouo was, without a doubt, the most pleasant surprise of the night – a ‘warm-up act’ in every sense of the words. Easing into the performance, Tasmania’s Ryan Farrington bounced ecstatically at each touch of his dials, and slowly but surely his energy became contagious. He dropped remixes of favourites from Drake and Flume, mixed in with tracks from his EP Mesa, spinning and jumping as the music transported him and the audience to another place, where partying reigned supreme.
Riding on the high that Akouo had created proved to be the perfect introduction for Safia. They opened strong with the purpose of their visit, performing the title single of the tour. It was clear that most of the room was filled with fans, as everyone mouthed along to the lyrics. Weaving in and out of tracks new and old, recorded and not recorded, Safia produced a refined set, with lead Ben Woolner integrating snippets of husky vocals in the quieter moments to maintain the audience’s attention. There were some issues with the lighting and smoke that engulfed the stage and made the band members completely disappear at points, yet moments of beauty such as the airy notes in their cover of James Vincent McMorrow’s ‘Cavalier’ managed to break through.
Safia are starting to demand attention as they develop their stage presence and following. And with the year still young, we look forward to what lies in store.