This year marks 30 years since the foundation of quintessential Melbourne band undergroundLOVERS who have been gracing music fans’ ears with their timeless mixture of guitar riffs and synth-pop.
Last year saw the group continue to experiment and produce a new record, Staring At You Staring At Me, which saw them receive critical praise by being long-listed for the Australian Music Prize.
“We were surprised by the nomination because we’ve always existed on the edge of the industry. So to get recognised by the industry in that way is always really surprising but nice,” reflected Vincent Giarrusso.
With this most recent record the group chose to experiment with a new album structure, which Giarrusso said wasn’t a “huge change” but may have influenced the critical reception of the album.
“We tend to structure our albums so that you ease into them before building up to a crescendo but for Staring At You we put all of the strongly structured pop songs at the head.”
The live show is where undergroundLOVERS really come into their own though, and this Saturday in Sydney should be no different.
“Our gigs are strongly visual, slow burns which build in intensity,” explained Giarrusso. “Some people don’t like the show because of the intensity but for the people that get into it they find that it’s a transformative experience which can almost be like taking drugs but you’re just listening to music.”
Amidst all of this visual and sonic intensity for the audience the live show comes with an entirely different intensity for the members of the band. Up on stage the intensity come from the groups decision to not pre-record elements of the show but rather to play everything live.
“When we play electronically it’s not in the way that electronic music is often performed these days. We try to make it as awkward, organic and prone to disaster as we can because we like the tension and because there is nothing more depressing than seeing 10,000 people dancing to a laptop.”
Obviously choosing to perform shows this way comes with inherent dangers and the occasionally malfunction, much like the group experienced during their performance in Brisbane to kick off this tour.
“I forgot to gaffa tape the sampler to its stand so as I was banging away on it it fell towards the ground. Luckily I was able to catch it before it hit the ground but that forced me to quickly change to a different beat all within the span of four beats,” recalled Giarrusso.
With such a vast catalogue of music to draw from the undergroundLOVERS have chosen to split the shows on this tour into two distinct sets, one which focuses more on their electronic tracks before then morphing into their more traditional rock instrumentation side.
Mar 10. Oxford Art Factory, 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst. $39+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.oxfordartfactory.com