Enmore Theatre, March 6
The audience age-spread (sadly, a bit like the waist-spread of some of us at the upper end of that range) was wide; the gap between people having fun and other people having fun, even if hair and sweat and drinks were being swung into their faces on the 1 and the 3, was non-existent. Bodies in motion make their own rules.
As indeed does a band which can make a room behave like this while looking like the Year 4 fathers gave up working the BBQ and put together a scratch group for the primary school fundraiser. Daggy dads go electro!
One rule might be, if you own the room completely, slipping in a couple of songs which are an open-necked acrylic shirt away from the kind of smooth, west coast, easy groove number you’d hear on classic hits radio – one of them complete with a guitar solo that might have been played by a Steve Lukather or Waddy Wachtel – doesn’t jar, it jells.
So Bathful Of Ecstasy (fearlessly dropping deliberately cheesy aphorisms such as “lovers rock and they roll”, while making it feel straight from the heart) and Don’t Deny Your Heart (with a Donna Summer heart under its Doobie Brothers drive) - the aforementioned yacht rock candidates - felt like companions to the urgent nightclub synths, deadpan lines and high stepping bass of Night And Day and the forlorn disco of Flutes.
Another rule: pretty, vulnerable melodies can attach themselves to pulsing movement and tug at your heart as much as your feet. So And I Was A Boy From School and Melody Of Love lifted the ambient energy while subtly shading the mood, and Positive dropped a Mancunian melancholy over its Eurodisco shuffle.
One more rule before we go: just because you’ve finished the set with a slinky bit of ‘70s funk channelled through a Yazoo synth pop filter like Ready For The Floor, and you intend ending the night with might easily be your Pet Shop Boys homage, I Feel Better, doesn’t mean you can’t in between them blow out the back of the room with a ridiculous, and ridiculously effective tear through the electro-metal thundering of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage.
It’s true, bands in motion make their own rules.
A version of this review ran originally in the Sydney Morning Herald.