Northeast Party House know how to radiate both professional coolness and cheeky improvisation on stage, and their Later ‘Straya gig at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory was no different. It’s clear the band has already amassed a group of dedicated fans – they’ve been around for a few years now and were ready to jump, sing along and put their hands in the air at any cue.

DZ Deathrays warmed up the room with their time-spanning DJ set, including tracks like Hot Chip ‘Ready For The Floor’ and Tears For Fears 80s classic ‘Shout.’ Northeast Party House didn’t delay their intro to the floor – a rolling snare and it was on. Front man Zach Hamilton-Reeves had his serious face on (at least for the first half of the gig, until things got a little silly) and the inexhaustible links between Northeast and Bloc Party came to life. A thumping bass drum and Kele vibes from Zach created a festival-like energy.

Northeast kicked off their set with new single ‘Perfect Lines’ (“I can’t wait to be with you always”) and everyone started dancing along like they were listening to it in their bedroom. It also helped that all the band members were smiling and looking at the audience, not too snobby about their craft. By the time they played ‘Embezzler,’ everyone was singing along to every “rah” and “tss.” Bonus: we got to see synth man Sean Kenihan play the cowbell in real life.

But it wasn’t all energetic as the band knows how to slow it down for tracks like ‘Horror Hud’ where Zach transforms from party master to something more seductive, eyes closed sauntering around the stage in pinkish hues. But a moment later the disco lighting was back up and running for ‘Pascal Cavalier’ and smashing drums from Malcolm Besley let us know it was time for Gen Y anthem ‘Youth Allowance.’

About halfway through the gig, things got a little strange. The strobe lights went off during ‘The Haunted’ and it almost, almost reminded me of DZ Deathrays levels of rowdy when kids started climbing on stage and crowdsurfing. Someone was swinging around a triple j “tune rag.” Zach started out by asking the audience to “keep their cool” but then had to push stage intruders back into the crowd. A bedroom jam led in part by guitarist/bassist Jack Shoe saw a rendition of ‘Tears in Heaven’ and then ‘Seven Nation Army’ and Zach was left sitting next to the drum kit, laughing. When called on stage for an encore Shoe said, “we’re pretty unprepared,” before taking us back into the 90s and breaking into Sugar Ray classic ‘Every Morning.’

By Antigone Anagnostellis/ @AAnagnostellis

Photos by Elyce Dempsey

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