Art vs Science @ Metro City, Perth (30/06/11)

Thursday evening was a big night for the Sydney group Art vs Science, as it marked the first show of The Experiment Tour, the band’s first gig as a headliner. Taking a break from the festival circuit, the electronic three-piece found their groove in the depths of Metro City.

Supporting the trio were Strange Talk, fellow electronic-rockers from Melbourne. Despite a small and often indifferent crowd, the band maintained their enthusiasm and confidence. There were problems with sound mixing which often meant that one couldn’t understand the lead singer, and the vocals sounded almost monotonous. An interesting turn in the relatively bouncy-pop set (very reminiscent of Gypsy and the Cat) was an extended jam and cover of No Doubt’s Hella Good. Laced with a demonic edge, the cover brought a sense of familiarity to the lesser known band, who (it was good to see) were accepting of their role as a support act.

When Dan Mac,Jim Finn and Dan W took to the stage (smartly dressed in suits) the crowd certainly made them feel welcome; they had been waiting for them. The trio took hold of this pent up energy by opening with A.I.M Fire, followed by Higher. These two tracks got the crowd jumping and singing along. Songs such as Take a Look at Your Face and Friend in the Field were met with less enthusiasm, but still received great praise from the crowd.

The party atmosphere returned with Magic Fountain, and got the crowd (and the band) dancing and head banging. The Kasabian-esque Rain Dance and With Thoughts did not receive as good a reaction from the crowd, probably due to the slower nature of the songs. With Thoughts was an experiment within itself; it was the first time it had been played live.

It is obvious that there is a good relationship within the band. The three members seem like good friends, and they also seem to really enjoy themselves, which is a refreshing change. This sense of fun and mischief was made evident in what is perhaps the stand-out of the night, Parlez-vous Francais? They might not speak French, but the crowd loved every second of it. The song started with the band asking everybody to put their hands up and wiggle their fingers. A sea of arms was an excellent way of getting the crowd pumped and interested in what would happen next. Realisation hit when the first line “the Champs-Elysees is a busy street” was sung and the audience went crazy. After an extended guitar solo in the middle of the song, Mac went up on Finn’s shoulders. He then downed a beer (while still trilling on the fret board with his left hand) and Finn continued to play the keyboard. What could have gone horribly wrong was a unique sight and grabbed everyone’s attention. Keeping the good vibes going, the band played the first song they wrote, named Flippers. An accessible song, the trio had the whole crowd screaming “use your flippers to get down”.

Rounding off the night, the trio played the first single off The Experiment, Finally See Our Way. The cult-favourite Bumblebee followed, accompanied by some dancing by Mac and hypnotizing bright green and yellow lights. The very last song Hollywood, the song that made them what they are today, wrapped up the gig well.

This being the first time for the group playing as a headliner, the performance would have been a learning experience. Fluctuating levels of enthusiasm and response suggested that perhaps the trio should stick with party anthems, and stray away from the softer songs. Overall, a satisfied crowd left warm and buzzing from a good performance. The experiment was a success.