Photos by Joshua Baybrook
The soft-rock foursome spread the love to every corner of the Northcote Social Club.
Last Friday was a particularly cold night in Melbourne but fortunately for those who made the venture out to Northcote Social Club, I Know Leopard along with Wallace and Venus Courts provided the perfect antidote with their soul-warming joyous tunes.
The show began when the brother duo Venus Courts walked out to an already brewing crowd, to which the early comers were rewarded for their timely attendance by the pair’s folk pop mixed with lively trumpet sounds.
Next on the stage was Wallace, who emerged in a Betty Boop Christmas nightie, platform sneakers and giant gold hoops. This eccentric get up appeared to be very on brand for the delightful singer who played her original songs based off a Charles Dickinson character, a quote from Peter Pan and the question of what the frames in Harry Potter do at night. “All my songs are about silly things”, she admitted to an adoring crowd.
Between these support acts, punters moved freely around the Northcote Social Club, checking footy scores from the massive screens scattered around the venue, puffing cheeky darts in the beer garden out back and grabbing drinks from the multiple bars. It all felt very free range, just like any northside gig should.
Then the ‘70s soft-rock foursome the crowd had braved the cold for, I Know Leopard, walked out to a smoky stage and dancing red lights – the women of the group in sparkly red jumpsuits that drew all the room’s attention.
The first song the group played after the opening interlude ‘Mums And Dads Of Satanists’ was ‘Heather’ quickly followed ‘Seventy Lies’, all notable favourites from their touring album Love Is A Landmine. However, for the gemstone track the album takes its name from, the band made the audience wait to sing the “la-la-la-love is a landmine” chorus until much later in the set.
The ensemble played a few of their older singles, including ‘Another Life’ from their second EP and their 2016 hit ‘Rather Be Lonely’, which the crowd lapped up as they sang and jived along. Hips swayed and bodies bopped as the room was captivated by the energetic performance.
Other noteworthy tunes from the quartet were ‘1991’ which featured plenty of warped synth and bass, and ‘Epica’ which transported the females of the group, Rosie Fitzgerald and Jenny McCullagh, front and centre for the bridge as they sang, “I want all of you guys to know I’m not sorry to let you know” in perfect harmony.
‘Love Is A Landmine’ played right before obligatory encore, which saw ‘Everything Goes with You’ make the cut followed by one of the crowd favourites ‘Perfect Picture’. During these last songs, the band especially looked to be enjoying themselves, constantly stealing glances and smiles from each other as they played.
It’s hard to say who summed the night up better: lead vocalist Luke O’Loughlin exclaiming “Hooley Dooley this is fun” between tracks or a punter turning to his mate with the eloquently put line “that was fucking sick, ehh”.
To finish it all off, front man O’Loughlin told the audience they were racing straight off to Yah Yah’s for a DJ set, encouraging the crowd to follow, and thanked the room, remarking, “Melbourne this has been absolutely blissful”, to which everyone there could surely agree.
Highlight: Lead singer Luke O’Loughlin using the phrase ‘Hooley Dooley’.
Lowlight: Despite a fairly decent crowd for the support acts, there still could have been more in attendance for the more than deserving Venus Courts and Wallace.
Crowd Favourite: The song that was good enough to take out the album name ‘Love Is A Landmine’ played live.