Art vs Science perform the music of Icehouse @ Upstairs Beresford, Sydney (15/9/11)

Taking to the stage at Upstairs Beresford, Art vs Science made it abundantly clear that Icehouse have a gift for writing extremely good pop songs. Art vs Science could very well have been a little daunted by the prospect of performing the music of Icehouse, the much loved Aussie band that released a plethora of hits across the 80s. Yet even if they were the charismatic trio showed no sign of it, enabling the audience to either realize or remember (depending on age) that the songs of Icehouse are even better when played live. Besides, Art vs Science were given plenty of help throughout the set, being accompanied sporadically by Kate Miller-Heidke, Tim Derricourt from Dappled Cities and Patience Hodgson from The Grates. To top it off, Icehouse frontman Iva Davies himself made a surprise appearance at the tail-end of the set to the immense excitement of the audience.

As Art vs Science opened their set with the anthemic Great Southern Land to the crowd’s delight, the similarities between the three piece and Icehouse started to stand out. Not only do both bands have a flair for writing catchy synth-driven pop songs, but they also exude a playful attitude to accompany their music. The boys of Art vs Science may not have the glam-rock attire that Icehouse pulled off so impressively, but they do still stick to a strong dress code and onstage manner that stands them apart.

The first special guest to join Art vs Science was Tim Derricourt, treating the crowd to an emphatic, punctuated delivery of a few songs including Can’t Help Myself. With Derricourt working alongside Art vs Science to give a lively, upbeat performance that included a screaming electric guitar section, they succeeded in keeping most punters happy. Some members may have seemed more interested in chatting and drinking during the first half of the set, yet by the end Art vs Science and friends succeeded in capturing everyone’s attention.

The next special guest to grace the stage was Patience Hodgson, opening with the infectious pop track, My Obsession. Bouncing across the stage and beaming onto the crowd, Hodgson endowed her Icehouse numbers with the bursting enthusiasm which she is so famous for. Similarly, Kate Miller-Heidke well and truly put her own spin on the Icehouse songs that she was to perform. Blessed with a voice that is astonishingly beautiful and high reaching, Miller-Heidke’s performance was nothing less than spine-tingling. After giving a slow, sad rendition of Man of Colours, the songstress treated the audience to an incredible performance of Hey Little Girl. One of the most popular Icehouse songs due to its smooth, catchy melody, Miller-Heidke took this tune and turned it into a heart rendering piece. Paying full attention to the song’s poignant lyrics, Miller-Heidke gave an astounding performance that ended to a great applause.

After a few more guest returns to the stage, the Art vs Science lads were bursting with excitement when the time for Iva Davies to take part in the show. The highly esteemed singer songwriter looked as cool as ever as he first sang Great Southern Land, then We Can Get Together along with the whole crew. Ending with this great pop sing along, the set was certainly on the short side. Yet in their defence, each and every song was wonderfully executed. It may have been a few decades since Icehouse stood at the top of the charts, yet their songs continue to be valued and enjoyed by Aussie music lovers and this was made perfectly clear on Thursday night.