Art vs. Science, Strange Talk @ The Tivoli, Brisbane, (09/07/2011)

It seemed like just another Saturday night out in the Valley as punters filling out most of the Tivoli theatre swayed along to standard ‘party’ tunes chosen by a duo of local DJs on stage. After an hour of mingling and bar-visiting, attention was called back to the stage by Melbourne openers Strange Talk. The four-piece dance-rock outfit played their set with all-smiles, which seemed to be infectious judging from early whistles and cheers. These would be loudest during the band’s cover of No Doubt’s Hella Good, complete with a gratuitous guitar solo. Strange Talk may not have blown anyone away, but they were a suitable warm-up to all the dancing to be done within the next two hours.

Confidently suited-up in black and white attire, the three members of the headliner act were clearly ready to start shaking the chandeliers. Sounding like the score to a Nintendo video game, the intro to new single _A.I.M. Fire!_kicked off the Art vs. Science adventure that night. Teal-coloured lighting contrasted dramatically with the red glows illuminating the faces of the band members from below. Images of madness would become a theme for the night as ridiculous karate-style dance moves were frequent throughout the crowd during recent hit Higher -clearly pleasing more than just the punter dressed head-to-toe in a black ninja outfit.

EP favourite, Friend In The Field, prompted the first call from the band for a sing-along. This proved unnecessary as the adoring audience happily and loudly obliged throughout songs from Art vs. Science’s debut album, The Experiment. The title track from the band’s second EP would however be the biggest cause for loss-of-control in the mosh pit.

A full-on assault of the senses, Art vs. Science brought out their big guns for their performance of Magic Fountain. Anyone in the venue would have found it useless to resist the pull of the bass-thumping chorus and frantically darting laser-lights. A lot of sweaty fringes were wiped out of eyes transfixed religiously upward as the lengthy, echoing vocals of the aptly-titled Rain Dance that offered a breather. This turned out to be short-lived, however, as vocalist Dan Mac soon climbed the stairs of the Tivoli to play his own up-close-and-personal 80s-style guitar solo to the punters hanging from the theatre’s balcony.

Whether it was because it was a Saturday night, or the last show of their national tour, or a sold-out show, Art vs. Science showed no sign of letting up on the party vibe. Mac skulling a beer on the shoulders of his band mate, Jim Finn, was the epitome of this notion. EP hits Parlez Vous Francais? and Flippers were almost needlessly played to the already-entranced audience. It would be the first EP’s final track, however, which would close out the night; Hollywood was a sight of surrealism as drummer Dan W. stood high above the crowd amidst a sea of lasers, urging on the smoke-choked crowd’s sing-along like a crazed conductor.

Art vs. Science’s album may be an “experiment”, but the band’s tunes are not supposed to be their own brand of musical and lyrical rocket science; the simplicity of Art vs. Science is perhaps what makes them so enjoyable in the live setting. With the addition of that element of quirk, it is hard to resist the biology of your body’s desire to start dancing when you hear their music.