MSMR with Twinsy

MSMR with Twinsy

Reviewed by Justine Hecker and Bess Paterson

It’s astonishing to think that Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow – who make up New York ‘electroshock’ duo MSMR – met only two-and-a-half years ago. It’s even more astonishing to think they would feature on the 2013 lineup for both Laneway Festival and Splendour in the Grass and sell out their own sideshows only two months since the release of their debut album and less than twelve months after the release of their first EP. During the final show of their current tour at Melbourne’s The Hi-Fi on Monday night, MSMR proved why they are one of the hottest bands right now and their love for each other was evident, while the energy on stage would have you believe they have known each other for a lifetime.

The Hi Fi opened its doors to a sold-out crowd, clearly devoted to MSMR to make the effort to attend a Monday night gig – but the audience was well rewarded for their efforts. An opening set from upbeat, infectious pop duo Twinsy lifted the energy early, and - assisted by the vocals and dance moves from Michael Belsar – had the crowd hooked. With the venue nearly at capacity during the support’s set, Twinsy surely did not disappoint – their commitment to their music could not be questioned, with the bassist seated and wearing a neck brace for the duration of their performance. Finishing their set with the widely popular track ‘Waterbombs’, the Western Australia boys were a perfect choice of support for the wonder of MSMR that was to follow.

The best thing about seeing a band who have only released one album is that they can play said album in its entirety, if they so wish. In the case of MSMR, this is made even better by the fact that their debut album Secondhand Rapture is one of the best debut albums you could hope to find, and during their set we were treated to every track except two.

Despite having played Splendour two days prior, Plapinger promised “we’re still gonna’ fucking rock your faces off tonight” - and that they did. The set began with some of the best keyboard dancing you could ever hope to see from Hershenow, and the perfect crack in Plapinger’s voice during the popular ‘Bones.’

Stand out tracks of the evening included ‘Salty Sweet’, which saw the pair whisper to each other while dancing forehead-to-forehead, while new single ‘Think of You’ demonstrated the strength in Plapinger’s voice and the passion behind the lyrics. A cover of Patrick Wolf’s ‘Time of my Life’ was a welcome inclusion, holding a great deal of sentimental value for both the band and serious fans alike, as this was the first song Plapinger and Hershenow ever recorded together.

The first single off the record, ‘Fantasy’, brought the best energy from the crowd so far and earned an enormous applause, while a frankly sexy performance of ‘Head is not my Home’ saw Plapinger and Hershenow engage in a dance-off of foot stomping and shoulder shimmying.

The stage covered in darkness, Plapinger and Hershenow stood side by side under the spotlight for a touching and emotional performance of ‘This Isn’t Control’, the closing track on the album. Too soon we got to the last track for the night - crowd favourite ‘Hurricane’ - a dark and intimate performance of the popular track and a fitting, yet reluctant end to the evening.

Though no-one wanted their set to be over, MSMR can be forgiven for not providing an encore – with only two recorded songs not on the set list for the evening, the crowd were left hopeful when Plapinger grinned and promised “Melbourne, we’ll see you real soon.”

Secondhand Rapture is out now through Columbia Records.
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