LIVE REVIEW: Donny Benét, You Beauty @ Brighton Up Bar, Sydney (10/10/14)

 

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IMG_9673You Beauty released their rugby league-themed album Jersey Flegg earlier this year and it slowly but surely garnered attention leading to its imminent vinyl pressing. Their opening set showed they can nail the sound of the album in a live context with chorused guitar picking out lazy hooks and the rhythm section hitting a ‘Strokes and The Cure on the dancefloor’ sweet spot. Frontman Wil Farrier spent more time off the stage, pulling moves, prowling and climbing the PA speakers. It was a superb set that hit the perfect balance between humour, energy and melancholy.

Donny Benét has stepped up his live show considerably since the days of indie friends making up his band or doing solo shows with loops and drum machines. On the back of the new album Weekend At Donny’s he’s assembled a full band of what look like professional session musicians including keyboards, guitar, bass and saxophone. It takes the live Benét experience to a new level with the songs now sounding like fully fledged 80s electro/pop/funk tracks – alive and kicking in suits and grins. Three guest vocalists also brought a shift to the live dynamic, all of them adding their own stamp of style/pastiche. Geoffrey O’Connor was an icy starlet on Charlotte’s Web, Jack Ladder brought the louche sleaze singing about the last tourist on the sex bus and the sex-machine SPOD brought the street party attitude on Fantasies. Benét looked to be having a ball gazing out across the sold-out room, slapping and popping bass strings with a look on his face that was part disbelief but mostly pleasure. Sure there is an element of tongue-in-cheek with what he does but on the back of extremely well-written songs and experienced live with a room full of bodies in motion the Benét experience makes complete sense.

Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

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