LIVE REVIEW: Aussie Synth-Pop Masters "Client Liaison" sure know how to put on a show
Dressed in their best high waisted white trousers and brown suede bomber jackets, Australia’s favourite - and perhaps only - ‘late-eighties Australiana’/synth pop masters Client Liaison delivered a high energy performance to the tightly packed crowd in Mojo’s on Saturday night.
Opening duo GL had primed the audience perfectly, blitzing through a series of synth-pop numbers that had the incoming crowd steadily congregating towards the stage in curious anticipation. Those who followed lead singer Ella Thompson’s calls to groove closer and closer to the stage were rewarded with passionate yet sultry 80’s revivalist dance hits (Think Evelyn King but with more girlish exuberance).
The wait was up however, and as the familiar bass/drum intro of ‘That’s Desire’ began pumping, the boys filed on to the cramped stage - replete with oversized water coolers and obligatory plastic palm tree. With a spurt of dry ice and a flurry of dance moves from frontman Monte Morgan, they launched straight into it. Opening with a sequence of older songs including ‘Pretty Lovers’ and ‘Feeling’, I noticed that the songs that initially endeared them to the public were definitely getting the band warmed up, endearing themselves to the crowd.
By the time they started into their new single ‘World of Our Love’ the band had clearly gathered momentum. Bassist - and Triple J presenter - Tom Tilley and guitarist Geordie Miller marched back and forth, crisscrossing the stage with their instruments whilst Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller performed a series of quirky - albeit groovy - dance moves. After ‘World of Our Love’, Client Liaison took what I assumed to be a premature intermission. They quickly dashed my doubts, returning to the stage having made a hasty costume change (Monte now donned a fringed sparkly jacket...and a didgeridoo). From there, they delighted the crowd with the one-two punch of ‘Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight’ and a fervent cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’ to close out the night.
Having performed for a solid hour at that point, no one in that crowd could call into question the fact that Client Liaison surely knows how to put on a show. Despite their stylised presentation, Client Liaison’s music itself is not merely a sentimental re-hash of the detritus left behind in the turn of the 90’s. These songs pulsate with a more modern sensibility, adding the unabashed bravado of mid 90’s club bangers and the sonic variety of modern EDM. Every song in their repertoire is a love letter to a unique time in the history of music and indeed of Australia in general. A time when people were more interested in Muriel’s Wedding than the Red Wedding, when pop music was a brazen celebration of pleasure. We’ve definitely come along way since then but for the 250 odd people crammed into Mojo’s on Saturday night Client Liaison demonstrated that sometimes you have to go backwards to find the path forwards.