LIVE REVIEW: Was this Peking Duk's 'Biggest Tour Ever'?
As charming of a venue as ever, Red Hill Auditorium accommodated the huge crowds for it was about to be a long night for many. With numerous support acts and Peking Duk on the bill, there were high expectations ahead for their ‘Biggest Tour Ever’.
Entrancing all with her impeccable voice, Kira Puru carried a carefree and confident vibe as she worked with the growing audience. From the get-go, the artist wasn’t afraid to joke around — even explaining one song in particular as being about ‘sexual encounters on an airplane’. Giving us a glimpse into her newest song, she referred to toxic relationships as being the motivation behind ‘Everything Is Better With You’. She excitedly announced its release for the following week before easing everyone into a proper groove with her two hit tracks ‘Tension’ and ‘Molotov’.
The show was just getting started, with Kwame leaping onto stage and addressing Perth as being one of his favourite cities to perform in. For any show, a perfect opener is one that fully prepares the audience with what is about to take place. And what a highlight it was to have the Sydney rapper unveil his famed tracks (like ‘No Time’, ‘Wow’ and ‘Clouds.’) live! Incorporating his stunningly smooth vocal bars, he took the energy of the auditorium above and beyond to provide one of the best sets we had seen.
Then came show time for Peking Duk, who immediately went for a theatrical approach. Playing through the speakers was a 20th Century Fox introduction, followed by a snippet of the Star Wars theme song to mark May the 4th.
Opening with ‘Fake Magic’, Peking Duk began their explosive performance with Michaela Baranov’s live vocals. They came in strong with ‘Wasted’ and later on, their new track ‘Ur Eyez’ — which were beautifully executed with high-octane energy and smashing guitars. The boys brought out Kwame for ‘Say My Name’ and Kira Puru for a fun rendition of Blur’s ‘Song 2’, which stirred up a ruckus in the best possible way.
At some point, the boys did pause for a beer sculling competition to ‘get on our level’ — a nice little reminder to show that they didn’t take themselves too seriously on stage.
Of course, this set up the scene for more bangers to come, namely ‘Let You Down’ and ‘Feels Like’, which was released almost six years ago. Recounting their frequent DJ sets in Perth many moons ago, the boys fondly reflected with fans on their journey so far.
Yet while Peking Duk have come a long way, the evening sadly felt lacklustre. Some elements of the show failed to complement the actual atmosphere. While Michaela’s singing in ‘Distant Arizona’ was no doubt phenomenal, the slow and theatrical solo felt out of place amidst the action-packed night. Truthfully, the song itself wasn’t the a fitting choice to keep with the crazy pace the boys are known for.
This contributed to their set losing its interest; it was as if our headliners Peking Duk were almost overwhelmed by the massive show they promised, and had become unsure as to what kind of vibe were intending to impart in the first place.
As Peking Duk remarked, “Perth always throws it down the hardest” — and the same could have been said for them, if not for the inconsistency in their performance. While they did play play all of their hits and this would have delivered for most punters, loyal fans may have left feeling a bit let down.
The fact is, Peking Duk aren’t inherently good due to their theatrics (think confetti and pyrotechnics) — but rather, they are best known for producing songs that speak for themselves. Songs that work perfectly for festivals and loud nights. Songs like ‘Fire’ that get people screaming at the top of their lungs.
As many would agree, the smooth transition from acoustic to electronic during ‘Take Me Over’ was a wonderful example of this. Yet, as the show finished on a ‘High’, one thing became apparent.
While some artists master the balance between variety and novelty, it is extremely hard to achieve. Too often do artists deviate from what makes them special to deliver something new, and for Peking Duk, this had them falling short of the mark.