Cape Town tour

I can’t really think of a better way to spend a Thursday night than at a synth-pop gig at The Corner Hotel, and fortunately, that is exactly how I spent my evening on the 4th of July. Melbourne (via South Africa) five-piece Clubfeet were celebrating the release of their latest single ‘Cape Town’ (from their latest album Heirs and Graces), and were joined by Deja and Panama to warm up this frosty Melbourne evening.

Arriving during Panama’s set, I weaved through the sea of people crowding the stage to attempt to get a better vantage point. This Sydney-based five-piece began as somewhat of a side project for former The Dirty Secrets front-man Jarrah McCleary, but has evolved into one of Australia’s best offerings in the synth-pop genre. Panama have a lush, polished sound awash with '80s-style synths and keyboards, but with a modern twist that means they hold their own amid the deluge of offerings in this genre at present. Thursday night was my first encounter with this band, but with their infectious beats, stunning harmonies, and penchant for bongo drums, they've fast become one of my new favorites. Standout songs were ‘It’s Not Over’ and ‘We Have Love’, and I enjoyed Panama’s offerings as much as (if not more than) I enjoyed the headliners’ set. Certainly one to watch.

The Corner was well and truly crowded as the time for Clubfeet to hit the stage drew near, and I was pleased that there had been such a solid turnout for the band’s first headlining show at the popular Melbourne venue. ‘Get Loose’ was the song of choice to open their set, and we were soon awash with the bass-driven, layered sounds of this delightful band. The stage, and indeed, the whole room, took on a slightly darker tone during Clubfeet’s set, largely to do with the different lighting setup employed by the band (dark purples, and a more minimalist approach, as opposed to the vibrant reds used during Panama’s set). There’s something about Clubfeet’s music that I can’t quite put my finger on, but there’s an edge there…something dark…that added to the ambiance during their set on Thursday night.

We were treated to the majority of songs from Heirs and Graces, including, of course, ‘Cape Town’. While not as strong as their last couple of singles, it’s certainly one of my favorites on the album. The standout for me during the first-half of Clubfeet’s set was definitely ‘My Shadow’, followed closely by their gorgeous cover of Röyksopp’s ‘Remind Me’. The band was joined on stage by Melbourne songstress (and ex-The Gingers front-woman) Chela for ‘Heartbreak’, which is undoubtedly one of their very best tunes. Ending the night with ‘Everything You Wanted’ – my definite favorite for the night – we were treated to an encore in the form of ‘Last Words’, from their debut album Gold on Gold.

Clubfeet and Panama both write really good tunes. While I greatly enjoyed Clubfeet’s set, it was the discovery of Panama that left the lasting impression – they were truly an unexpected delight. The ‘Cape Town’ tour continues on, with several dates across Australia still to go, so if you’re looking for a night full of fun, synthesizers and bongos, these guys can’t be beat.

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