Trademark lush synthesizers, a bloom of strobe lights: George Clanton live at the Night Cat

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Trademark lush synthesizers, a bloom of strobe lights: George Clanton live at the Night Cat

George Clanton
words by cody brougham

"What’s up Melbourne! It’s George Clanton time!"

After briefly stepping onto the Night Cat’s central stage and saying a quick hello to the rabid young crowd, Clanton jokingly hid behind the curtain and then re-emerged like a fighter entering the ring to rapturous applause, immediately breaking the fourth wall and setting the tone for a night of self-aware overconfidence and an equal mixture of rockstar cliche and pure human connection.

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The speakers heaved with a swirl of Clanton’s trademark lush synthesizers as the opener Livin’ Loose began to take shape, before the stage erupted into a bloom of strobe lights and flashing LEDs, with the crowd clinging on tight to every moment. Armed with only his trademark SP404, an occasional guitar and a DIY light wall and strobe combo, Clanton used the sparse live setup to his advantage by spending the night focusing on giving the audience every last ounce of energy he could possibly muster. While most solo shows can feel like a bad karaoke rendition, Clanton’s larger-than-life character and interaction with the crowd brought the songs back to life. 

There was no crowd surfing tonight (he informed us his lawyer had heavily advised against it), but Clanton made use of the stage’s ring-like shape to get as close as possible to the audience. Grabbing their faces and screaming the song directly to them, stealing cameras to take selfies and gripping tightly the numerous outstretched hands that came towards him thoroughly created the feeling that we were all connected, tearing down the barrier between audience and performer and creating a unified feeling of euphoria.

None of the music’s great production was lost in translation, and although much of it was pre-recorded the show truly felt live, warts and all. There were a few technical difficulties, but the room rode through them and Clanton’s voice remained constant, although buried underneath mountains of delay and occasionally eliciting R2-D2 like shrieks. He paused briefly throughout the set to talk to the audience, naming his least favourite places on his recent tour and riling the audience up through means of the Sydney vs Melbourne discourse. As the night drew on and more beers were tossed on stage at the artist’s request, Clanton finished the set by twirling his sweat drenched shirt off and making the rounds around the stage one more time.

“That’s George Clanton for Australia baby. Thank you.”

George Clanton 17/06 set list

  • Livin’ Loose
  • It Makes the Babies Want to Cry
  • Kill You in Bed
  • Dumb
  • Never Late Again
  • Make It Forever 
  • Fucking Up My Life
  • Justify Your Life
  • I Been Young
  • You Lost Me There
  • Encore: Bleed

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