The Future Is Now

Featuring Fractures, Oscar Key Sung and Hayden Calnin

The Worker’s Club has been completely consumed by Rolling Stone. While the in-your-face marketing and inflated drink prices make for a confronting gig environment, the line-ups gracing the stage for Melbourne’s Rolling Stone ‘Live at the Lodge’ showcase are too good to pass up. Tonight’s sold out, and the room’s packed early.

Up first, Hayden Calnin caresses a very attentive crowd with swooning vocals. His falsetto is incredible, as are the scattered beats hiding beneath most of his tracks. However the set’s dominated by huskier vocals and gentle guitar, and beautiful song skeletons are decorated with frustratingly repetitive and uninspired lyrics. The end result sounds a little like Bon Iver in morning-after mode, with the set decaying into bland indie-pop rather than rising to the potential Calnin’s more promising tracks hint at.

Oscar Key Sung provides a very different experience. The odd man out on the lineup, Sung’s acapella intro gives way to deep, heavy bass. Atop it rides a vocal delivery sultry on same scale as The Weeknd or FKA Twigs. Slowly, this set breathes life into the crowd. Sung’s magnetic enough to warrant the spotlight of a solo show, throwing himself into the music and never passing up the chance to dance out a breakdown. The set builds gradually, and a mellow, seductive vibe gives way to bouncy house beats. Then, just as things really get going, it’s all over.

Fractures have their work cut out for them following that set, and the shift in mood is noticeable. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Mark Zito, Fractures arranges itself on stage as a five-piece band. In opting for this setup, Zito sacrifices a lot of the fragility of his recorded material, forgoing a subtle electronic sheen in favour of a soft-rock sound. The band are tight, and Zito’s delivery is faultless. But things sound a bit too sharply focussed, it’s hard to get lost in the show.

The crowd watch on politely, seeming pleased with the temperament the night’s assumed. New track ‘Child,’ capitalises on the band’s capacity for a heftier sound and proves a highlight of the set. Moving towards the back of the room for set closer ‘Won’t Win,’ I realise what I mistake I’d made in placing myself towards the front. Next to the sound desk, with the echo of the room operating at full effect, the band’s sound swirls together to form a much denser atmosphere. While Fractures’ full-band arrangement doesn't quite feel polished yet, it feels like that point is within reach.
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