Client Liaison @ Jimmy's Den, Northbridge
Fresh from their debut Australian tour, and a worldwide jaunt supporting Flight Facilities' Down to Earth tour in November 2014, Client Liaison have been jetsetting nationwide for their Pretty Lovers nationwide tour this March. The 1980s antipodean electro dancepop duo of Harvey Miller AO and Monte Morgan have been strutting stages with a mastery acts five years more experienced might envy.
However, Perth's show was disappointingly restrained, perhaps owing to the absence of leotarded, makeup-caked backup dancers, or perhaps the modest crowd that frequented the Westralian show at Jimmy's Den, Northbridge, didn't expand to fill the dance floor at a sold out venue that should have felt a little more packed.
The quintessential eighties warm-up DJ sets by Eleventeen Eston and Lower Spectrum, featuring a rich assortment of well mixed Australian power pop hooks that would have been right at home at a 1987 episode of Rage or, dare I say, Countdown, went down like a fresh daiquiri on a yellow sun swept beach. Shortly after Harvey emerged and did unpolished final sound checks, Client Liaison fronted the stage and began to tear dance pop hits that would have been as well placed three decades ago as much as today. These future past classics haven't dated at all either; one gets the feeling that CL have taken the equipment of today and made what Paul Simon or A Flock of Seagulls would have loved to back at the height of their popularity. There is something about Monte's Queenesque stage persona and the duo's sarcastic retro pastiche that is undeniably entertaining.
It is unthinkable that the mono-dimensional and unimaginably pedestrian Guy Sebastian somehow won out over Client Liaison to represent Australia at Eurovision, but one can't help but wonder how on-point and electrifying CL will be by this time next year. Watch out, Baltic states; we're going to crush you in '16.
Last night's set was full of the predictable tracks from their debut EP, as well as a few cheeky unpublished numbers sprinkled in for good measure. "Queen" and "Pretty Lovers" went down well, as did "End of the Earth," which could make any day feel like Australia day. Disappointingly though, the don't-dance-near-me-bro crowd seemed to be out in force, especially up front, and only a mere few punters who had been well watered contributed more than the typical conservative nightclub bounce. You'd think a band like Client Liaison, renowned for their ostentatious, seemingly unchoreocraphed music videos, would have attracted a cult following of unpolished dancers more intent on having fun that looking cool while trying to have fun.
Harvey and Monte made no secret of their following DJ set afterparty at Amps/Capitol, but after making an effort to actually enjoy myself at Jimmy's, there wasn't an ounce of energy or sweat more left of me to draw out on another dance floor. Dance well, dance once.
If Perth's nonchalant youth could find the battery to properly enjoy a show as energetic and nuanced as Client Liaison's Pretty Lovers show, there would be scores more of Australia's best upcoming dance acts making the dash over the Nullarbor. But while scores of swept-fringe, snap-back bros insist on taking a devil-may-care attitude to every gig, those who go to a gig to get the most of it will remain a minority. Perth risks its reputation as a musical city if we don't embrace some of the finest visiting musical talent this end of the earth has to offer.
Dance on, Client Liaison. Dance harder, Perth.