Fresh off the back from two months in the U.S supporting St Lucia, and nailing their SXSW debut, Sydney natives Tigertown were always going to bring their A-game for the opening show of their Australian tour.
Contrary to the feelings suggested by the title of their new EP titled Lonely Cities, the Newtown Social club was filled with a warm and friendly buzz as punters eagerly awaited the arrival of triple J’s newest favourites.
Onstage, it was almost startling to see how much the band has changed in the past three years. Gone are the acoustic guitars, beads, headbands, skinny jeans and oversized cardigans that characterised them in their early days. Travelling in the synth-pop direction with their new material, they have opted for trendier haircuts, glittery pants and keyboards and synthesisers. The band themselves have downsized to, going from a full family six piece to a four piece with the addition of a live drummer. However, Tigertown displayed their skills as both musicians and creators with not just how they have embraced the change visually, but sonically with their sound.
Opening with Make It Real in a flurry of poppy hooks and rhythms, the band quickly made their presence felt with their new-found energetic stage show, carried by husband and wife duo Chris and Charlie Collins. Charlie gave a particularly commanding performance, encouraging the audience to dance and allowing herself to become engrossed by the synthy melodies. Dropping Bullet From The Gun early proved to be a master-stroke, with the familiar hooks and steady grooves allowing the audience to enjoy the familiar material, before a string of new cuts showcased their future direction.
What Tigertown have not lost with their old sound is their skill at creating texture with their beautiful harmonies. The rhythmical Always from the band’s latest EP showcased this, with the vocals of the chorus powerfully swelling around the wall of sound produced by the instruments onstage. However, if any fans in the room had come for nostalgia, that was the most they were going to get. The band ignored their back catalogue entirely, committing to the change of direction by playing the entire EP with conviction and enthusiasm.
Lonely Cities itself was always going to be the highlight of the night. From the hooky vocals to the guitar leads, it was a winner from day one, and it made sense for the band to hold it off until the end of the set, much to the to delight of the crowd. It truly delivered, with Collins inspiring a sing along in the chorus, and the band dancing around to the pulsating beat in pure joy.
The song felt like a finisher and would have been the perfect way to end, but Collins and co. had other ideas, returning to the stage for a poppy rendition of John Farnham‘s Pressure Down, giving the audience some insight to the roots of the band’s newfound love of 80’s synth-wave, before closing the evening with the moody What You Came Here For. Whilst both songs held up in their own right, it felt that they would benefit switching these final two tunes out with Lonely Cities to end the set on the most positive high possible.
Regardless, it felt that the audience in attendance at the Newy walked away with a sense that they had witnessed one of the last gigs this band will ever do in such an intimate venue. With a new sound and the ability to produce the goods both in studio and on the stage, the sky really is the limit for Tigertown. As irritating as the line is, they are truly ones to watch.
See more: Read our interview with Tigertown