+ Merk + Eves Karydas
@ The Triffid
Review By: Alexandra Ainsworth
New Zealand indie rockers Merk are the first to grace the stage. The unassuming ensemble of four youngsters take a moment to gather their instruments, and I expect that I’m not the only one who is unsure of what their set will hold. From the first moment their sound blares through the speakers, however, it’s clear to all that Merk are not to be so quickly dismissed. They present a sound far more refined than their overly casual disposition would have you expect, and it’s doesn’t take long before frontman Merk starts working the stage with a well-deserved confidence. Their sound is a distinctive mix of genres, with slight hints of DeMarco and Pond making Merk an irresistibly exciting set to feast on. From the guitar-heavy Manchuria to the synth-ridden Lucky Dilemma, Merk have set the bar for the following performances at near unobtainable heights.
Eves Karydas is next on the bill, the Brisbane artist obviously excited to play a hometown show. Karydas is joined by a live band for her set, and wastes no time in showing off her luscious vocals during her electric performance. Newer tracks There For You and Further Than Planes Fly show a more pop-heavy direction than 2015 hit release Electrical. With a couple of years and a name change separating the two eras, Eves Karydas evolution shows promise of bigger and bolder things in the near future.
Headliners Cub Sport have spared no expense adorning their set up with a host of extra lighting, the most notable of which being a neon sign announcing, in glowing letters, the band about to take to the stage. It’s no secret that Cub Sport have been riding an all-time high ever since the release of their sophomore album BATS. The packed out venue is undeniable proof of their success as fans eagerly await the opportunity to see the Brisbanites on stage.
The set starts with vocalist Tim Nelson, a spotlight, and the poignant opening chorus of O Lord. It’s nothing short of a theatrical opening, and as Nelson’s angelic voice rings through the venue, there’s no doubt that Cub Sport are ready to put on their best show.
The setlist comes primarily from BATS but also includes highlights from debut record This Is Our Vice. Both are filled with outstanding harmonies backed by Sam ‘Bolan’ Netterfield on keys, Zoe Davis on guitar and keys, and Dan Puusaari (the only member who isn’t sporting platinum blonde locks) on drums. The three are led by their bold leader, who chooses not to hide behind a mic stand; working each corner of the stage with graceful movements that only add to the night’s drama.
There is little talk between songs, but Nelson takes the time to express the band’s gratefulness for selling out two hometown shows–a statement that is met with a roar of support from the floor. Cub Sport are pioneering a movement in the Australian scene, one that works to support fans just as much as the fans support them. It’s a touchingly symbiotic relationship that works on a system of openness and honesty, both of which are key elements in tonight’s set. Cub Sport are bold in a way that is not ostentatious, and it’s in this sincerity they’ve found true artistry.
The night ends with the band’s cover of Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam, a highlight from not only the set, but from the extensive catalog that is Triple J’s Like A Version. Angelic harmonies work in contrast to Davis’ prodigious shredding, her guitar solo a brilliant display of talent that deserves more exposure than it’s short exposé in the final song. The track caps off a stunning performance from one of Brisbane’s finest bands—a testament as to why every one of their Australian dates was a sold-out affair.
FOLLOW CUB SPORT
AMNPLIFY – AA