Welcome to the Kirin J Callinan show

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Welcome to the Kirin J Callinan show


It was a sticky 30 degrees as Melbourne’s Press Club laid waste to the stage. The four-piece played a short, sharp, high energy brand of melancholy punk that you couldn’t help but fist pump to. Singer Natalie Foster was a blur of kicks, skips and hair flicks through songs like ‘Headwreck’ and recent single ‘My Body’s Changing’. You could tell the band has had a busy year of shows as they were tight as a drum and have their set locked in.

The threat of rain was realised as Sydney’s Body Type kicked off their set. The band’s mellow dream-pop was the perfect backdrop though and rather than spoil the mood, the burgeoning crowd embraced the downpour.  Slow, soulful vocals and jangly guitars accompanied pounding rhythms. Be sure to catch them at Sugar Mountain early next year.

As if it were all part of his plan, the rain stopped just as Kirin J Callinan strutted onstage. Looking like some sort of futuristic Spanish-Australian troubadour – part toreador, part jackaroo, part house DJ – a literal hush descended with the first strums of his guitar. Callinan is a consummate showman and it was obvious even to the casual observer how well planned the entire performance was – even though there was no lack of authenticity. Immediately Callinan’s soothing baritone voice – like a cross between Leonard Cohen and John Jarrett – welcomed us to his show.

Callinan and his two ‘brothers’ masterfully slid between Scott Walker-esque dark avant-garde passages with moments of straight-up EDM. He’s a total enigma with a bevvy of tricks up his sleeve. ‘S.A.D.’  was the perfect example – he can whip the crowd into a full blown dance party before revealing the guitar-virtuoso in him all the while singing and leading his band.

The moment we’d all been waiting for came towards the end of the set, as Callinan and co. kicked into recent internet-sensation ‘Big Enough’. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Jimmy Barnes but Callinan didn’t disappoint as he effortlessly mimed the earth-shattering screams. The set came full-circle as Callinan rounded out the night with a solo rendition of ‘Landslide’, just his voice and his guitar.

Highlight – Callinan’s sexy stage banter.

Lowlight – Getting soaked.

Crowd Favourite – ‘Big Enough’.