Little Red Live at The Forum

Get the latest from Beat

Little Red Live at The Forum


Ivanhoe’s very own heartbreakers Little Red have stepped up to the big leagues in 2010

Ivanhoe’s very own heartbreakers Little Red have stepped up to the big leagues in 2010 – thanks in part to the runaway pop smash Rock It – and in turn are selling out venues oft-reserved for big-name internationals. Their reign seems set to continue over summer with a most impressive trifecta of Meredith, Pyramid, and Big Day Out billing. I was curious to discover whether their new-found broad appeal had come at the expense of what made them so endearing in the first place, or whether performing a U-turn out of the creative cul-de-sac that was their ’50s rock-n-roll shtick made for a greater career move.

Kiwi-born, Melbourne-based songstress Kimbra provided a dazzling treat for any earlybirds at tonight’s triple bill, making it perfectly clear that she is indeed worthy of the buzz generating around her of late. She commanded the stage with her remarkable voice and hypnotic dance moves with enough gusto to make any seasoned performer envious. The punters finally began to surge as the doo-bop foundation of airwave-friendly Settle Down, while funk levels were ramped up with a pitch-perfect recreation of Prince’s falsetto on I Wanna Be Your Lover. Irresistibly fun and brimming with pop smarts, Kimbra is a superstar in the making. Watch this space.

After some time off in the year previous, well-coiffed Sparkadia frontman Alex Burnett has done what’s known as pulling an Axl – the outfit is now classified as a solo project with backing band. This rearrangement failed to stymie the crowd’s anticipation, fans both old and new. Talking Like I’m Falling Downstairs elicited a strong response, the set capped off with previous hit Jealousy. While the crowd again reacted with raised arms, it was a pedestrian performance overall.

The maturation of Little Red has seemingly resulted in much sleazier attire – the lads graced the stage looking like they had just crawled out of Studio 54 circa 1979. Nevertheless, adjusting to the larger amphitheatre by adding a two-piece horn section, the question was whether it was possible to strike a balance between their new-found Springsteen-sized stadium aspirations and their characteristically unrefined rock ‘n’ roll showmanship. Leading with Midnight Remember cut Lazy Boy, bassist Quang Dinh stirred a frenzy with his visceral rock pipes. After a few rounds of instrument and lead-vocal changing, guitarist Dom Byrne ditched his axe and assumed the role of de facto frontman for much of the show. Unsurprisingly, Rock It absolutely tore the roof off the sucka. Its sheer pop simplicity lends to a deep resonation with a broad audience – a delightful earworm that steers clear of troubling the cerebellum.

Such a crescendo proved difficult to top, but other tracks from the sophomore release proved just as crowd pleasing. Current single Slow Motion is a grand anthem that could gladly find a home in the arena environment, much like compatriots Temper Trap and their world-conquering Sweet Disposition. Continuing the falsetto-funk theme for the night with the sexed-up Forget About Your Man, providing the antithesis to the group’s humble beginning of It’s Alright. Their main set closed there, and it would have been more than enough to solidify their position as flag bearers for the new wave of Australian pop.

After a lengthy break, the band returned to lead the encore with a softer number, so soft in fact that it was difficult to hear over the mumbling from the unresponsive crowd. That soon changed when the opening licks to Coca-Cola kicked in, causing everyone in attendance to shut up and dance. Irrepressible drummer Taka Honda once again stood atop his kit to conduct a theatre-wide clap-along to the “my one and only advice” refrain. Saying goodnight with one last squelch of feedback, the boys left in a wake of hysteria.

After such enjoyable lo-fi beginnings in the likes of The Tote not so long ago, it’s nice to know the boys clean up alright after all.