Amid the hubbub of Laneway appearances and debut LP releases, Sydney natives High Highs still managed to cram in some back-to-back club shows for those of us too poor for music festivals. So I, being of sound mind and low bank account, moseyed down to the beloved OAF last night to catch the boys playing their first Sydney show. Ever.
Touring off the back of their super-recently-released LP Open Season, High Highs have momentum on their side right now. The album is a dreamscape of twinkling synth, echoing keyboards and delicate guitar work, deliciously tied together with lead singer Jack Milas’ haunting falsetto. It’s a cohesive collection of songs, so intricately woven together that it’s hard to tell when one ends and another begins.
But so begins another tale about double-edged swords – while Open Season sounds like bliss through my headphones, it’s also a sound that proves tricky to recapture in a live setting. Don’t get me wrong, High Highs gave us a great set with lots of heart in quite an intimate basement. Renditions of ‘Open Season’ and ‘In A Dream’ worked a treat with a near-capacity crowd, but those melancholic effects that characterise the LP did a lot less for them live. What sounds dreamy on the record may come across as sleepy on stage, and it’s a fine line the boys toed to keep the set on the right side of spacey. I like my live shows with a bit more meat, and my fingers are crossed that High Highs can beef it up a bit more for those hopped-up peeps at Laneway.
Finally, props to Melbourne boys City Calm Down for jazzing up the early birds with an impressive, and slightly smokey, set. I love me some dry ice and saxophone solos, and City Calm Down brought both to the party and won another fan in the process.