Gig Review: Client Liaison + GL + Leisure Guide | Elsewhere, Surfers | Friday, 20 May


There was a queue half way down Cavill Avenue itching to get into this special night of music and revelry.

LEISURE GUIDE, the DJ, was warming up the dance floor with some groovy retro tunes as I entered the elsewhere realms. How can you not get your groove on with such classic gems as West End Girls?

“Too many shadows, whispering voices
Faces on posters, too many choices
If, when, why, what? How much have you got”

At the same time it was hard to drag yourself away from the Merch desk. So many tempting, odd, alluring and colourful items. I kept going back. Thanks for putting up with me Adam – Client Liasion’s manager – and for the chats throughout the night. I ended up with a whole lot of stickers and one of those sunnie/glasses neck thingi-things, which I proceeded to get myself in a tangle with most of the night. (I’ve since turned it into a hat-band. Looks good).

Ashamed to say I was not familiar with the first band, GL. Nor have I found out what the letters stand for.

Ella bounced around the stage in her red and blue, florally abstract frock. Very retro, upbeat and funky.

I have to quote Leisure Guide, aka Callum Richardson, ’cause I could never have come up with such detail.

“Even though their branding and costumes aren’t as nostalgic as that of Client Liasion, four bars of moog-esque synth bass and TR808 drum grooves in, you can hear that they are neck deep in early 80’s boogie, across the whole spectrum of post-disco, electro funk and synth pop, a theory proven in their penultimate song, a cover of Madonna’s Lucky Star. You can see they have carefully deconstructed this era of music, analysed it with a fine-toothed comb, and reconstructed it to fit on a midi controller and two synthesisers”.

Wooooah. But wait… Callum continues.

“I draw likeness to acts like Delegation, Surface and Chemise. No big guitar solos or percussive flairs, just steady mid-tempo bass lines, understated drum machine percussion, and front-centre vocal performance. Simple and effective”.

Thank you. I shall leave that there, but just want to add that I think Ella Thompson has amazing presence and vocals… Very cool.

Now to headliners, the inimitable CLIENT LIASION. First saw them up at Oh Hello! at Bigsound, coming up to three years ago. I didn’t know much about them but something must have twigged in my psyche ’cause I had a big pink high-lighted circle drawn around their name on my hand-written App. They were as funky as all hell. With a capital F.

Can’t get away from that word tonight or in relation to these guys.

They were a two-piece then, Melbournian’s Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller. Monte’s amazing mullet, circa John Farnham back in the day, and gloriously, outrageous costumes added to the groovy party vibe.

They played at Splendour last year. I don’t know what international or headlining acts they were up against.

I couldn’t give a rats ’cause I wasn’t going to miss these dudes.

They are on a nation-wide World of Our Love tour taking them across and around this wide-brown land. They are also slotting into Groove in the Moo festivals to boot. Now that must take some mighty fine scheduling.

And energy. Just about every show has sold-out way in advance. We are talking about big venues. One and two thousand capacity joints like The Metro in Sydney and Forum in Melbourne. Which makes this night even more special. An intimate audience at Elsewhere, capacity 250 very privileged beings.

The band has doubled in number and includes Triple J’s Hack reporter, Tom Tilley on bass, who would have thought that? They nod to Michael Jackson, big drums and vocals as in Beat It and Dirty Diana as an early influence.

Scissor Sisters, 80’s Simian Mobile Disco, and of course Prince, as much for his fashion flair as his brilliant pop. And even our Tina Arena especially the song Sorrento Moon. “She is a vocal powerhouse”.

Feed The Rhythm sent us all going ape-shit. Well me anyway. My fav CL track. The video clip of them skiing the Snowy Mountains in fluoro ski-suits is insane.

They also have a fascination with corporate Australia which is exemplified in End of the Earth, and Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight. And perhaps from whence their name cometh?

Of course they weren’t getting away without an encore. Monte leaps on to the stage, proclaiming, “Respect to the traditional owners of this land”.

Then I hear, ’cause I’ve sort-of been hustled to the middle-back of the melee with all these tall folk looming before me, but is that a didgeridoo I hear? I get a glance through a crack in the crowd and see Monte blowing on some pipe looking thing. Tribal beats with a warped pop bent. What a brilliant end to the night. CL are incomparable.

Unique and bloody ffffffun and fffffunky.

Thankyou Elsewhere crew for this absolute treat and chilled, crazy vibes as always. Special thanks to Callum Richardson.

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