Surprising many with a high energy and sickeningly fun mid-afternoon set at Golden Plains 2017, Confidence Man’s Melbourne single launch sold out as soon as the hangovers wore off. They preceded to sell out another show at the Northcote Social Club in record time before adding a third a final show at The Corner.
Having first encountered this incredible young band in a small venue pre-BIGSOUND show last year, it is incredible to experience this explosive rise to recognition. Their energy and eclectic mix of musical elements were astounding in its evocation of a stripped back LCD Soundsystem.
An act like this present a struggle for booking support acts and the second support Broadway Sounds DJ set was a good attempt, however falling a little short of the impact that you hope for in a support act. The upbeat feel of the full Broadway Sounds band would have created more interest but as with many shows at The Corner, it was obvious that the punters were only there for the main act as the room, filled in the break before.
Confidence Man has an impressive stage presence with two members Reggie Goodchild and Clarence McGuffie, coming on stage dressed all in black with veils covering their faces as they take position behind the drums and smorgasbord of synths. Beginning with an introduction few minutes of housey electro-pop which is reminiscent of early Cut Copy.
Soon the well-known faces of Janet Planet and Sugar Bones grace the stage with their quirky synchronised dance moves before they swing into early demo ‘Alligators Making Allegations,’ a characteristically funky track. By incorporating an interesting sample and a bass drop, it shows that they attempting on creating more punch which is lacking on the recorded version.
After performing a few unreleased tracks, a seamless transition feeds into a high energy ‘Bubblegum’ is a particular highlight with the crowd, although the breaks seem to interrupt the dancing by the audience. This shows a tension in Confidence Man’s set where the DJ elements compete with the live drums to create music which straddles funk pop and dance music.
As they swing sparklingly onstage, it’s clear that Janet and Sugar are working up to something and as they launch into ‘Boyfriend (Repeat)’, their breakout hit the crowd goes nuts. This tongue in cheek, irreverent track is appealing partly as it another side of the typical story about females attitude to relationships. Performing it live, they indulgently extend this song to create ample dance time for the frontpeople’s signature dance moves. They repeat the well-documented audience interaction, caused the whole of the corner to crouch down and jump up on cue.
After a noticeably short set, they return for an encore rendition of a funky Grease homage, which is awesome but also perhaps necessary due to their lack of releases to fill in this set.
A very impressible show which lived up to the expectation in the wake of Golden Plains, yet some of the magic was lost by the indoor, low-ceiling venue. Regardless, Confidence Man is carving a unique place for themselves on the Australian scene and it will be worth watching to see what new material they have in store.