Report: The Presets, Melbourne 2013
Palace Theatre, Melbourne
Thursday February 7th, 2013
By Richie Meldrum
It’s been a while since The Presets have performed in front of their own crowd. A headline slot at last year’s Parklife was their first chance to air material from new album Pacifica, but this 2013 Australian tour is an altogether more familiar affair for their nearest and dearest.
On their second night in the capacious inners of the Palace Theatre, Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes take to their usual on stage positions; Hamilton down on the upper ground level, Moyes and his drums perched up high above him. The four large screens framing the pair flicker into life as the electro palpitations of 'Push' from the new album kick off the set. Beloved for their live input into an electronic output, The Presets performance is a perfect balance of the organic and the mechanic -- Moyes’ drums and cymbals are never outdone but the pounding digital basslines and Hamilton’s spectral vocals compliment the whole arrangement so well.
Surprisingly, for a dedicated turnout and an almost full house, the response is a little lackluster at first. The sticky evening heat perhaps playing a part, crowds shuffle rather than dance, sway rather than swirl. It’s not until the trance-tastic piano build-ups of 'Fall' that the night’s proceedings really start moving. Finally raised hands puncture the bed of bright yellow light stretching out over the heads of those on dance floor and the atmosphere steps it up a few gears.
The Presets put in to ensure than coming to see them live is decidedly different from sticking on your headphones and closing your eyes. Moyes dismounts his crows’ nest and take up position behind a large digital xylophone, where he strikes the midi-bars for an extended intro into the live incarnation of 'If I Know You'. The unmistakable pirate-shanty riff of 'Promises' induces a sing-along from the crowd and is a particular highlight in a nicely structured set list; the pace and tone peak and trough in all the right places as the boys move from old to new material, never missing a beat and pulling of some perfectly timed mixes when stringing it all together.
Most tracks are given their own individual interpretation on the night. 'This Boy's In Love' comes complete with old skool piano chords while the distinc synth riff of 'Youth In Trouble' receives its own performance enhancement in the shape of some additional acid jams that send all three floors of the venue into rapture. 'My People' and 'Talk Like That' both receive the reaction they demand and deserve and a rousing version of 'A.O.' sees the entire venue bathed in rich red illuminations. Thanking everyone for their attendance and admitting how good it feels to perform their own gigs again, the boys return to the stage for a final encore of 'Steamworks' and 'Anywhere'. It’s been a minute but not much has changed, The Presets still sit top 'round these parts when it comes to live electronic music.
(Photos: Tim O'Connor)