I have never seen as much excitement and appreciation for indie music as I saw at Oxford Art Factory last Wednesday night. London-based duo Oh Wonder were due to play their first sold-out Sydney show, while in town to perform at Falls Festival. We know from our interview with Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West that they were both surprised and humbled that so many people from the opposite side of the world had found them, and we were now able to see them in the flesh.
Once the huge crowd finally settled in, supporting act PLGRMS graced the stage. Although I had never heard their music before (given that only two of their songs can be found online), they played a solid set. Their sound reminded me of what it means to be young and without a care in the world, even delivering a throwback to 2007, covering MGMT’s Electric Feel. They ended their set with their latest single, released four months ago Pieces, which has a seductive feel combined with a slightly dark vibe.
After a short break, the curtains opened to reveal a giant ‘OW’ behind the stage, which then lit up throughout the set. As Anthony and Josephine walked onto the stage, the audience welcomed them with a loud roar. Oh Wonder began their set with Livewire, the dancing crowd recognised the song immediately and began to sing along. The sing-a-longs didn’t stop all night, with Josephine even mentioning how extraordinary it was that we knew all the words to their songs.
Following their stellar live renditions of Dazzle and Shark, they took a break to introduce themselves. Announcing London as their hometown prompted an audience member to yell something out in a fake British accent, to which Josephine winkled her nose, stating it was the worst British accent she’s ever heard. The venue filled with laughter as Body Gold began.
Throughout the show, you could see that both members of the duo had different habits while performing. At the beginning of Lose It, Anthony slowly grooved to the beat, clicking his fingers and singing, until the time came for him to chime in with his guitar. You can see how he feels the music, closing his eyes to sing. Josephine, on the other hand, likes to look around at the crowd while she performs. She closes her eyes at times, however, the main thing I noticed was her beautiful big eyes scanning the sea of faces. Her matching smile said it all; seeing that we were enjoying ourselves seemed to fill her heart with joy.
While they set up for Without You, Josephine revealed an exciting surprise to us all.
“Are there two people here who have come in single and will come out engaged?”
There was suddenly a wave of excitement over the crowd. A man answered over the loud conversations and confirmed that she had indeed said yes. Josephine timidly admitted that she had forgotten his fiancé’s name.
“I want to say, Jennifer?”
It was Bridget.
“Oh damn it! That was my second guess!”
To be honest, they didn’t have any significantly stand-out tracks, but that’s only because you can’t separate them unless you have a deep connection to a particular song. They each told different stories, leaving us with different feelings. Their signature laid-back sound transgressed throughout their magnificent set and each track added to the atmosphere. As the show came to a close with Technicolour Beat, Anthony apologised to the disappointed crowd for not writing a longer album. It seemed that no one wanted it to end.
I have no doubts that Oh Wonder will be back again soon with another great set and plenty more eager fans waiting to see them.
Check out our photos from the event here.