Last Dinosaurs, Toucan @ Spectrum, Sydney (29/02/12)
Despite the tiny size of the sold out Spectrum on Oxford Street, Brisbane’s Last Dinosaurs launched their new album in style and with gusto – laying a foundation for a successful tour from their new and highly catchy album, In a Million Years.
Supporting were Sydney’s Toucan, a majestically playful duo featuring vocalist Jess Pollard and on keys, Shea Duncan. With the addition of a live drummer their melodic piano sound was enhanced, but not overpowering the enthusiastic female vocals. Highly resembling other successful indie pop acts such as Sia coming before them, their sound was pleasant but not amazingly original with perhaps a little more variation to come as the band mature.
With nowhere to hide in the tiny Spectrum, Last Dinosaurs came onto the stage ahead of schedule and launched straight into two old favourites, Hawaii and Time & Place. Honestly speaking though it didn’t seem to matter, as the level of dedication of the fans in the audience led almost every song to be treated with the respect and grandiosity of a favourite. The Spectrum suited the band’s style – very much with the intimacy of seeing them in someone’s garage, with unpolished and unadulterated guitar moments adding to the rawness of their fine performance. In addition to the four main members, their live show expands the group into a five piece with their keyboardist doubling as a temporary extra drummer – at least during Time & Place. The venue soon became fluid with movement as the frenzied crowd jumped around then sang along with Sean Caskey’s refrain that ‘we’re all waiting’.
New song Weekend was their first showpiece from In A Million Years, its energetic guitars and Dan Koyama’s thumping drums proving a welcome introduction to their new album – which already seemed very familiar to this audience with its catchy pop hooks and distinctive style, and that was not just because the first three rows knew all of the words already.
The much loved Alps was featured early on, evoking the more Phoenix-esque side of the band’s musical repertoire before they got stuck into another new one, innocuously named Andy. With mesmerising visual projections behind them and a guitar tone absolutely mimicking the sound of steel drums, the song stood out as another varied effort from a truly stratospherically rising young band.
A night would not be complete without a feature of anthem Honolulu, taking the night to its pinnacle as the crowd loudly shouted ‘hey!’ right back at the band before it reached a thrilling crescendo – culminating in a room full of grinning faces. Indeed the happiest people in the room may as well have been the band, dubbing the audience as one of their favourites.
Ending the set came a medley, with the band masterfully covering Modjo’s Lady and Spiller’s Groovejet. The grooving crowd thoroughly enjoyed this epitome of the band’s humorous and easy-going aura and it easily proved the best moment of the night. However, not to be outdone by a cover, the finale came with new mega-single Zoom. It transformed the previous song’s smooth stylings into a riveting finale in which the whole room was unable to stop dancing to its insanely catchy hooks.
Last Dinosaurs have produced one of the most danceable and upbeat albums of the year with In A Million Years, and their live show is a perfect representation of their playful ethic – missing their show should simply not be an option.