I WAS THERE | RIOT EXPERT RECORDS LAUNCH feat. RKDA @ SHEBEEN – 28. 05.16
To celebrate the launch of Riot Expert Record label, and the release of Melbourne three piece RKDA’s debut EP – CS the band played blinding show at Shebeen alongside Aeora and OCDANTAR.
Aeora set the night off with ease. Despite having barely a handful of tracks out in the world, she’s garnering a reputation quickly, impressing all who hear her. This set showed exactly why. Powerful vocals, engaging lyrics and a stage presence expected of acts of a significantly larger size she put on a captivating show. Hidden as a silhouette thanks to the back lighting of the light set up, she was a captivating image, working her way around her small set up. The addition of a guest violinist was a nice touch, adding a depth to the performance, and a cover of Glass Animal’s ‘Gooey’ created a degree of accessibility for those not yet familiar with her work. The three tracks that have been released were presented flawlessly. The set closed on her latest single ‘Medicine’ which despite being strong recorded, became something else live, a force that could not be denied. Aeora is quickly working into being one of the best alt pop acts locally, and it would be a surprise if she wasn’t making larger ripples soon.
OCDANTAR faced a hard slot. Sandwiched between two very active, visual, live acts he worked his electronic set well but was a lacklustre performance to view. Fortunately, however, music isn’t about the visuals, so while eyes may not have been locked onto him, the room had a groovy vibe rippling through the audience. The set could best be described as a cosmic experience. The material was superb, if unexpected in its style. A comment on how he was new to performing live teased a stronger future of live performance which is good, because you cannot deny that the material presented is the perfect sound track to a let of field, yet dance worthy night. The set took on the awkward line of electronic music to think about, and that to shimmy alongside, and came out for the better.
Shebeen’s stage is notoriously small, and its light set up one of the plainest around. So when you saw RKDA jammed together on stage, with a wall of lights behind them, you knew you were about to be transported to somewhere new. As the first bar of ‘Spaces’ hit, and the lights kicked in the audience was throw into another world, the plastic plants at the corners of the stage the only reminder of the venue. While the audience was often blinded, the band appeared as shadows, with each action a clear cut image against the blistering light show. Sonically, the set rarely haltered, each song more or less ran straight into the next, with brief respites provided for interaction with the room. All the material form CS was played, alongside some new material and a cover of Delia Derbyshire’s ‘Zwizih Zwizih OO-OO-OO’ slipped into the set perfectly. The performance felt exceedingly well rehearsed, with each track wrapping itself around the room quite comfortably, and every action from the band feeling comfortable and organic. It was very much a visual performance, turning a series of tracks that in many ways are enjoyed best when lost in thought and turning it in to an experience that borders on being overwhelming, in all the right ways. As the set came to a close on ‘Coffee’ it was a harsh jolt back to reality, the forty or so minutes prior had flown by, RKDA consuming every ounce of concentration of those in the room. Closing on ‘Coffee’ provided a nice nature to the set, starting on their first release and closing where the EP closes off.
Each act that played this show had a noticeably different sound and style, but what was made abundantly clear, is that they not only are they musicians that you should be watching, but they are acts you should expect to be playing shows on a bigger scale soon. For each, in their own distinct way holds the potential to be an act that could steal the show on any scale.
By Ayden Measham-Pywell