Close Counters’ performance at Colour was an unforgettably inventive audiovisual experience
02.03.2021

Close Counters’ performance at Colour was an unforgettably inventive audiovisual experience

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Words by Michael Vince Moin
Photos by Dylan Jardine

They just keep getting better and better.

Close Counters’ ascension to the height of Australian dance music seemed a sure and destined thing after their heaving, unforgettable set blew everyone away at Meredith 2019.

Following the release of their Refractions record, no one in that 20,000-strong crowd could doubt that this band were the real deal. One global pandemic and a couple of lockdowns later, Allan McConnell and Finn Rees – the duo that make up the heart of this act – have been anything but idle. 

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They’ve got a new EP on the verge of release with a host of impressive collaborations,  alongside recently released remixes of artists such as Denzel Curry, Young Franco and Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange.

Their music this time around sounds as refined and genuinely concentrated as we’ve come to expect from Close Counters, with a welcome dash of genre traversing and experimental grandeur, an evolution facilitated by their recent success.

Following their return to live music at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl not three weeks ago came a string of sold out shows at Colour. From the outset of the show it was clear just how keen the band was to be playing live again and the energy was duly reciprocated by the crowd.

Opener and high octane track ‘HEY!!!’ turned the venue into an instant high-energy dance floor and set the mood for their new tracks ‘Speak In Truth’ and ‘Up & Out’ (both featuring Allysha Joy from 30/70), to leave the crowd breathless. 

Close Counters’ newer material managed to diversify their set in a manner that still kept the dancefloor heaving while allowing their genuine talent as musicians and songwriters to shine through. A cheeky cover of Madison Avenue’s ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ was as fun and dance-fueled as you would expect.

The band’s visual aesthetic is not to be understated either, with some of the wildest and consistently forward thinking visuals we’re likely to see this year. The visual display was thanks to the fusion of Finn Rees’ very own animations, which were complemented by video artist Rhys Newling’s projections.

Enlisted dancer Maggie Zhu emerged near the end of the set in a highly reflective plastic get-up, a moment which took the incredibly visual show to the next level.

 

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Drummer Lucky Pereira is undoubtedly one of the most gifted young musicians in the country, while bassist Matthew Hayes is a welcome addition to the band, playing warm and rhythmic low-end throughout. The penultimate track ‘Soulacoasta’ had the whole room heaving and swaying, then ending to rapturous applause. 

The evening confirmed what many are beginning to realise about the band: they’re a sure success. 

Highlight: Everything.

Lowlight: Having to return to reality after the show.

Crowd favourite: Allysha Joy receiving a very warm welcome up onto the stage to sing the bands’ new tracks.