Art Vs Science – Perth 20 August 2009

Have a squiz at Maccah’s pics from the Amps gig here

Art Vs Science played their second sold out show in Perth at Amplifier, to a completely packed room. On a weekend gig, the numbers are often inflated by the death-disco early-birds, who thankfully tend to stay out in the courtyard or outside bar, but on a Thursday night, everyone who’s there is there to see the show; and they packed every inch of floor space. It was such an intense energy show, and they dragged the audience along with them from the very first cry of “We are ART! VERSUS! SCIENCE!”

The first impression of the band is that they do not look like they sound. Hearing Parlez Vous Francais? and Flippers on the radio, you kinda expect them to be puffy jacket and cap wearing guys, bouncing around the stage, chewing on their microphones, but with the exception of the bouncing about on stage, they’re quite the opposite. Keyboard player and vocalist, Jim Finn was decked out in metallic tie and a stunning silver and black striped jacket, throwing out Van Halen style finger points and fist bumps with God. Dan Mac sports a business shirt and over-sized fringe, and is not only a mad keyboard player and singer, but also plays shit-hot guitar; overthrowing their keyboard/drum combination when in the middle of Parlez Vous Francais?, when he whipped out an amazing, wailing guitar solo a la Jimmy Hendrix. Drummer Dan W played the whole gig with a wide, open-mouthed smile; (a little bit like a Muppet...) he looked like he was having the time of his life; banging away with everything he had, leaving him completely bathed in sweat and looking like he’d just entered a wet t-shirt competition.

Their rapid rise to popularity means they seem to have really only had time to write around seven songs, meaning they needed to pad them out with audience participation and solos and covers. Luckily, their songs are so simple that you can sing along with them even if it’s the first time you’ve heard them. We were introduced to new song, Higher, with an invitation to sing the chorus, which is simply: “Higher! Higher! Higher! Hi-i-yah!” the crowd responded exactly as instructed, screaming out the words in the right places and reasonably in tune; it didn’t matter that we’d never heard the song before, we were involved in it and therefore loved it immediately.

Their cover of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s Boom Shake the Room, was fantastic, even including a crazy dance-off in the middle. Every arm in the room was up in the air, waving about to the chorus and singing along with unabashed enjoyment. Will Smith would probably have been a little bit teary if he witnessed it.

Of course, the craziest song of the evening was their massive hit, Flippers; with well-prepared people using actual flippers to get down, or bouncing around with their umbrellas, and even one giant blow-up penguin, which was taken up on stage, much to the joy of the girl who brought it with her.

It was so great to see a band that is so joyous, with no songs about heartbreak or sadness or anger; just excitement and good fun. This time around, they played two shows in reasonably small venues, both of them sold out; so this might unfortunately be the last time we get to see them in such close quarters and really feel like part of the show. Of course, it would be absolutely awesome to see them pack out a venue like Metro City, and have such a huge crowd dancing and chanting along; perhaps after their album-writing hibernation we’ll get to find out what it’s like!

Have a squiz at Maccah’s pics from the Amps gig here