It’s a well known fact that Client Liaison put on a first class pop show – something that they’ve demonstrated through their theatrical and musical talents time after time. But when their last tour of Australia featured an ice sculpture of a swan as the centerpiece of the stage, multiple costume changes, a musically outstanding performance and synchronised dance moves that brought down the house, one begins to wonder where they can go from there. Luckily, they’re a band who have little trouble in finding new direction.

After being sufficiently warmed up by live techno troop Retiree – a vibrant, four-man explosion of tropical beats – it was time for the big reveal. Smoke and lights were flashing, a flutter of Kookaburras could be heard, a drone of synths and didgeridoos cut through the atmosphere of 170 Russell, and then, right before our eyes Client Liaison appeared in colour-coordinated outfits standing proudly between a massive glittery cut out of Australia’s coat of arms. As Harvey Miller moved towards his his keyboard set up and frontman Monte Morgan brooded in front of his microphone stand, they started playing ‘Feed The Rhythm’ – a dance banger appropriate for just about any nightclub across the world. Towards the end they invited their newly hired backup dancers Retro Sweat on stage, who broke out into an Oz-Star Aerobics style moves in matching flouro unitards.

They moved through their back-catalogue in quick succession, spending short amounts of time between songs. The musical direction of the show felt like a well constructed DJ set, as each song seamlessly blended into the next. ‘Free Of Fear’ and ‘That’s Desire’ were up next, and the girls from Retro Sweat were used to their full potential as the Oz-Star styled dancing continued with continued involvement from Morgan. As the song came to its close the dancers left the stage, leaving just the duo. The keyboard tone from the group’s 2013 single ‘Feeling’ soared through. The sentimental ballad cued the first mass sing along of the evening, so much so that the usually cool and composed duo couldn’t wipe the grins off of their faces. It was a true moment of connection between the band and the audience, and the love in the room was real.

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The duo then introduced their backing musicians to the stage, comprising of triple j presenter Tom Tilley on bass, and Miller’s brother Geordie Miller on guitar. ‘Pretty Lovers’ went down a treat live, with the added element of a live bass player driving the song to new heights while Morgan’s vocal performance was not hindered by his rapid movements. The distinctive 80s instrumental was exactly the change of pace the set needed after the emotional weightiness of the previous song. The room was warmed up and they followed with ‘Queen’ and an old-but-unreleased number ‘Hotel Stay’, which showed off the guitar work of Geordie Miller as he managed to snag an indulgent Prince-esque solo.

This tour marks the first occasion where Client Liaison have played a cover in their set. The all Australian cover was of course their Like A Version from earlier in the year of Christine Anu’s ‘Party’ mashed in with ‘! (Song formally known as)’ by Australian pop rockers Regurgitator. Seeing it played live highlighted just how well the two songs fit together, seamlessly gliding between one Australian pop banger to another. Upon finishing the catchy and musically innovating cover the stage was cleared, only for them to return moments later for a wonderfully executed encore.

The stage was filled with smoke and lights once more. They set out to play another unreleased track by the name of ‘Canberra Wont Be Calling Tonight’ – a song so catchy it only takes one listen to know it back to front.  As the band returned to the stage they once again glided between songs, but this time with a sample-like version of the INXS classic ‘Need You Tonight’. Client Liaison finished the show with an attention grabbing version of their bittersweet ode to Australia ‘End Of The Earth’, yet again initiating a mass sing along from the excited crowd.

Client Liaison have yet again put on a top notch pop performance. Their use of stagecraft, costuming and a new sense of live musical direction work hand in hand with each other. It was really great to see a performance from the duo that dedicated equal respect to the musical and theatrical elements of the show. Melbourne should be very proud to have its very own world class pop act.