It was a hot summer night and the line at the trendy Jack Rabbit’s was long and sweaty. This Speakeasy event was a rare chance for electronic music fans to catch three Aussie artists on their respective meteoric rises all at once: it was no wonder local music heads were bent around the block in the rapidly swelling line for door sales.
Kicking things off was the Brisbane-born Feki, fresh off a host of high-profile remixes and recent exposure from Perth’s own Pilerats. The set was crowd-friendly from start to finish, with everyone’s favourite mixes making their expected appearances and plenty of soaring build-ups and heavy drops to bounce around to. Although at times somewhat predictable and monotonous, Feki ultimately gave the room what they came to hear. Of particular note was an entertaining and seemingly off-the-cuff re-working of Childish Gambino’s ‘Fire Fly’ into the club banger mould, accomplished with a finesse and subtlety few producers can manage.
Next was local heroine Kučka, riding the wave of confidence that a feature alongside such international starlets as Flume and Vince Staples tends to bring. Despite this, her demeanour remained coy and unassuming throughout, delighting her fellow Perthians to her trade mark ethereal vocals over almost Tekken-esque synth arpeggios. Sporting a t-shirt that read “You Fucking Snake” signalled from the outset that Kučka wasn’t going to be all kisses an’ d rainbows, and her emotionally dissonant and angsty lyrics proved a perfect foil to her innocent icy pop melodies. Grunge-tinged vocals spiralled over disorientating three-dimensional video, with highly textural (and almost epileptic) images of the human form crafting a set that was highly morbid and yet utterly compelling to both the audial and visual senses.
By the time the Sydney headliners made their appearance, the Jack Rabbit’s back room was full to bursting and chomping at the bit for some indie EDM. Despite this, the first track of real note was a very dance floor-centric remix of Akon and Ne-Yo’s ‘Play Hard’, which itself was marred by the first (of three) total audio dropouts that would go on to plague the set. Cosmo and Patrick, the twins behind the semi-eponymous outfit, did their earnest best to explain away the technical difficulties, but blaming such a fundamental faux pas on Soundcloud reeked of amateurism. The highlights of the performance – by no real coincidence – were those occasions where Kučka returned to the stage. Goldlink’s ‘Spectrum’ was played raw to seemingly close out the set, only for the night’s undisputable MVP to return once more to join the boys for the wildly popular ‘Walk with Me’.
Even as the night rose to this rather delightful crescendo of synth pop, a particularly irate punter directly behind me couldn’t help but boo and yell abuse at the Cosmo’s boys. Despite this 30-something gentleman looking wildly out of place in his singlet, boardies and gelled mullet, his observations, although delivered crudely, held at least some relevance: at times, the set conjured recollections of my Year 10 social, complete with the sweaty teenagers and audio failures. When a live track sounds identical to its polished album mix it’s often an indication (at least for electronic musicians) that the artist lacks the skills and confidence to recreate as many elements of the song as possible in real time and with real instrumentation.
For those who came just to see Cosmo’s Midnight (and there were plenty), you’d be entitled to expect some alternative renditions and at least some simple synth looping. For your sixty-minute set length and your $35, any punter can certainly hope for some more professionalism.