Perth Festival Review: Shigeto and Too Many Zooz at the Chevron Gardens
There’s nothing like being able to take advantage of Perth’s lovely summer nights to soak up some live music and local bevvies, and on Wednesday residents were given the perfect opportunity to do both at Shigeto and Too Many Zooz. Playing at the Chevron Gardens as part of the Perth Festival, the pair treated punters with a diverse mix of instrumental hip hop and brass backed dance tunes in a combination that promised to deliver something unique, if a little odd.
Taking to the stage at 8pm sharp, New York’s Too Many Zooz kicked things off in the high energy fashion that garnered them worldwide attention in 2015, when videos of them busking in subway stations went viral. The self-coined brass house purveyors quickly brought people in from the beer garden and on to their feet as the often-intense mix of baritone sax, trumpet and percussion filled the air. Audience engagement was aided by sax player-come-hype-man Leo Pelligrino, who’s stage antics would have been equally at home at a fringe show but ensured the enthusiastic crowd was kept well entertained and absorbed throughout the hour-long set.
While the music was energetic and exciting for the most part, one wonders if a slightly shorter set would have benefitted the band more as things started to sound a little repetitive towards the end. Diversity aside, the playing time certainly showcased the aerobic abilities of all the band members, who hardly stopped moving or playing for the entire hour they were on stage. By the end, Too Many Zooz had exceeded expectations to prove they’d transcended their busking roots to be a band with the ability to handle a proper stage and a paying crowd.
(Photos by Cam Campbell)
After a half hour intermission in which punters could once again enjoy a drop in the adjacent beer garden, it was time for headline act Shigeto (AKA Zach Saginaw) to take to the stage. Hailing from the Ghostly International label based in Michigan, it was Shigeto’s first time back in Perth since 2015, and followed the release of his second full length solo record, The New Monday, in the latter half of last year. Re-entering the main amphitheatre, audience members were met with a drum kit and mixing station sitting front and centre on the otherwise empty stage.
Juxtaposed against the brash sounds of his support, Saginaw starting things off slowly, easing into a tempo of soft melodies and baselines before taking to the drum kit to provide the rhythm section and building from there. This softer, jazz influenced vibe was maintained for the first half of the set, with fan favourites 'Detroit Parts I & II' being highlights. The addition of the live drum kit provided a deviation from note for note album reproductions, stopping a sometimes-familiar trope of electronic producers who put together a playlist for their live shows then hit play. The added emphasis on percussion also gave Shigeto’s sometimes sedate music more rhythmic qualities and helped get the crowd moving.
This was particularly apparent when things were knocked up to a dancier gear mid set. Punctuated with his most nightclub friendly track 'Ice Breaker', this change of pace did not let up. It was at this juncture though that the atmosphere of the venue and the music didn’t seem to match up so well. While sound and lighting were both fantastic, the darker, groovier tone of the music seemed better suited to a smaller, more intimate venue where a dancefloor could really come alive. The thinning crowd may have also reflected this. While the Chevron Gardens are a great place to see live music, they work best when the music matches the venue and this mark may have been missed.