15 June, Metro Theatre
Castlemaine-born Oliver Perry, or D.D Dumbo as he is more affectionately known, is currently in a world of his own. After releasing Utopia Defeated in early October last year, Perry has deservedly been enjoying the spoils of a successful debut LP – huge tours and international acclaim.
Perhaps the best thing about Perry is that he has introduced a sound so obscurely exceptional to the Aussie music scene, he may well be considered a pioneer in his own right. The kaleidoscopic variety of alternative pop for which he has come to master is so unlike anything else on the scene right now, there really seems to be no competition for the young Victorian.
Unfortunately, my experience of tonight’s gig as a whole was less than on par with what I expected. Tainted by over two hours of support acts, Perry and his band took to the stage almost 40 minutes after they were posted to begin. This would have been okay if it wasn’t a Thursday night, or perhaps if his whole set had been an hour earlier, however after being berated with experimental support acts for over 120 minutes, a now tired, work-week-weary audience seemed less than enthralled at what was to come.
Either Perry intuitively recognised this, or maybe he just came prepared to meet whatever reception he received – either way he almost immediately turned the intensity on.
Eyes wide with ecstasy, Perry summoned some unknown passion from within his slight frame – engendering in his audience a feeling so carnal and so enthralling that their mood seemed to build alongside his. True to the album’s chronology, they began with Walrus, starting slow and then jumping straight onto the groove all at once. After such a well-received opener there seemed little doubt left in the room that this would be a mediocre set – the same bodies who were but ten minutes prior glued to their phones were now inseparable from the show in front of them.
Ensuring the audience was well engaged, Tropical Oceans came next; Perry and his band had more than a little fun mixing up the traditional flow of the track and belting out the chorus alongside a throng of front row diehards.
The progression of the set took the audience almost entirely through the album in sequential order; with pauses only being made to either chat to fans or tune instruments – an exercise that occurred more than a few times.
Perry’s motley crew of multi-instrumentalists were showpeople in their own rights too – with each individual changing instruments at least once.
Sporadic, seemingly random jabs at a pair of wind chimes added yet another layer to the eclectic circus of instrumentals already causing quite a beautifully raucous affair. Tracks like Satan and Alihukwe showcased the ethnically mixed inspiration that has become part and parcel of Perry’s sound; certainly, with only four band members, the sheer range of instrumental diversity and the musical assortment was a spectacle unto itself.
If there were one aspect of a live show Perry seems to need no practice for it would be his stage presence. By no means a sizeable man, he knows how to use both his facial expressions and the immediate space around himself to create a larger than life onstage persona; consequently, it is very hard not to be entertained from almost any position in the audience.
By ways of a conclusion Perry’s troop brought the energy down towards the end, playing softer tracks like Oyster to round off the evening.
Despite the mood-downing two hours of supports, Perry made a fantastic effort to salvage the atmosphere and rekindle audience temperament right off the bat. It was a relief to leave the Metro Theatre on a vibrant high – one that could only have come from experiencing the carefully curated melodic ruckus that is a D.D Dumbo live set.