Northeast Party House | Live at Shebeen

18th September, 2014 | Shebeen

It’s basically what it says on the box: great beats, catchy riffs, excellent vocals and all round party vibes. In the first of five shows being played across Melbourne over the weekend (with three well and truly sold out), Northeast Party House’s performance at Shebeen was a triumphant hometown gig to kick off the Kick Ons tour. The indie dance-rock five-piece is playing a string of dates across the country in smaller venues after headlining shows at bigger locations such as the Corner Hotel earlier this year, harking back to shows of yesteryear where punters’ behaviour was wild to say the least – my sister has a story about her boyfriend getting picked up and thrown across the room at a Northeast gig last year. However, the band’s increasing popularity has led to a more sedate crowd: I noticed a lot more girls in inappropriate footwear and several couples who seemed to be more interested in gyrating and making out than paying attention to the people on stage. The band had to work a bit harder to connect with some of the crowd but it was clear by the end that they had succeeded and everyone had really enjoyed themselves. The biggest fans at the front were enthusiastic from the beginning and were rewarded during the encore when lead singer Zach Hamilton-Reeves jumped into the crowd and moshed with them before climbing onto someone’s shoulders to watch his band mates continue to play before being carried back to the stage.

Hamilton-Reeves was hypnotising, incredibly energetic and electrifying in his vocal delivery. He has a brilliant voice, with superb range and control, while catchy guitar riffs from Jack Shoe and Mitch Ansell, building synths courtesy of Sean Kenihan and tight beats by drummer Malcolm Besley combined to make the band stand out as one to watch. The support act Wax Witches, who are playing the whole tour with Northeast, were unfortunately not as endearing, with screechy vocals being more than a little off-putting.

Opening with Stand Tall, Northeast played a strong set with several big songs from their debut album Any Given Weekend; a record which depicts the highs and lows of partying, something which the band knows all too well: love and lust, friendship, substances and expectations. Newest single Sick Boy was played towards the start, and the catchy Embezzler got the crowd involved. You And I was a bit slow but it did show off Hamilton-Reeves’ fantastic vocal ability and had a great use of synths to build the song up to a crescendo. The big single The Haunted, which has received a lot of airtime on Triple J, brought one of the largest cheers as the fans danced and sang along. The main set was closed with the double-hit of, my personal favourite, Pascal Cavalier and the anthemic Youth Allowance - a song that is easily related to by the majority of our generation and had everyone jumping and chanting the chorus, almost as if to protest the Government’s proposed budget measures right then and there. Coming back out for the encore, the band played their recent Like A Version cover of Violent Soho’s Covered In Chrome. Easily a crowd favourite, just like the original, the re-shaping of the song lends itself to the band members’ skills and sound while still remaining entirely recognisable and giving the crowd quite a few opportunities to scream “Hell, fuck yeah!”.

The chemistry among the band is obvious. Named after a two-week-long party at a mate named Northeast’s house, they are eager to have a good time while pursuing something that they not only love but are lucky enough to be talented at – and they appear to be very much enjoying themselves. Word about the Northeast Party House’s party-like shows and prowess on stage is spreading and it is unlikely that they will be going under anyone’s radar for too much longer. Their technical skills have improved in leaps and bounds as the number of gigs they have under their belt increases, and now they are a polished (or as polished as necessary) band ready to take the country by storm.

Northeast Party House are currently playing their second headline tour of 2014 and have been announced on the second Falls Festival line-up.

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