As I rolled past the friendly staff of the Corner Hotel, it was immediate that the night was starting on a slow burn. Expanding the bandroom with dark and chaotic synths, 0.1 felt his way through the set, hoisting his busty Kirkis monologue into sweeping rhythms and pulsating reverb. With a little banter, 0.1 glazed over spectators, who, in turn, began cluttering in from upstairs and continued to dip in and out of the dimmed space.

As if struck with a sudden bolt of electricity and whole lot of attitude, Melbourne’s district soul animals Sex On Toast mounted the stage, leaning and bobbing between one another in matching outfits of simple black. Conducted by lead singer Angus Leslie, the ten-piece quickly had the audience moving; hypnotised and gawking at their recent single ‘Oh, Loretta!’. Sweltering under the heat of pure soul and vibrancy, the set swarmed with energy; bursting under a number of feverish horns, vocal arrangements and of course, precisely choreographed dance moves.

As they continued busting out, the whole audience cheered, apart from the man who stood next to me as he growled to his lady friend, “the main singer. Yeah! He seems like a bit of a dick.” Now, just imagine if Sex On Toast wore their renowned glittery outfits, oh man, this guy probably would of had a breakdown – of course, I was laughing. Between kisses and body strokes, ‘Hold My Love’ was reworked fabulously, shattering the studio recording of the single and spicing it up with an array of horns, keys and hot, heavy breaths. “We’re Sex On Toast“, spoke Angus trying to collect his quipped voice, “Yeah, we’re the support band“.

Wedged between two strangers against my will as the crowd swayed intently forward, the audience exploded into a clapping, whistling mess as the red curtains drew back. Washing over the crowd with an almost hypnotic sensation, the glimmering keyboard introduction from Hiatus Kaiyote softly simmered the venue, with Corner’s space expanding their floatation amongst fans. As if ‘Breathing Underwater’, spectators soon were swaying under Nai Palm’s glorious vocal arrangements and golden fingers, who – like always – was decked out head to toe in shiny metals and rich textures. Slowly burning from ‘Nakamarra’, the ballad continues to seduce the crowd, eliciting howls and noises from old time fans.

Winding up the night, instrumentals began to bleed into one another, juxtaposing sounds and tones as the dancefloor picked up momentum. As the strong and intense riffs from ‘By Fire’ begin to cascade, everybody is moving; fans twirling, the performers jamming and the bandroom reverberating with pure neo-soul rhythm. Bouncing behind the mic, Palm quickly surrenders her full vocal capabilities, dropping her divine gospel arrangements in the overwhelming ‘Building A Ladder’. As if fallen from heaven herself with bandmates a divine fruit, everybody swoons, the night fortifying the force and impact of Choose Your Weapon in its entirety. Would I say it was a good show? Mate, it was literally ‘Atari‘.

Cover Image by Teresa Pham