170 Russell will always be ‘Billboards’ to the over 25 punters of Melbourne, full of memories of messy nights and bright lights, however 170 Russell has also had its fair share of local and international music acts who have each brought something different to the venue. Monday the 2nd of February, a very windy night, saw Sweden’s Little Dragon hit the stage supported by Sydney’s Kilter.
Fresh from the Field Day and Falls festivals, Kilter was absolutely on fire as he navigated us through an electric wonderland full of fat beats and exciting rhythms. The standout track came toward the end of set, ‘Gravel Pit’, his collaboration with Matt Miller, which garnered a lot of extra attention when it was remixed by Flume roughly a year ago. As Kilter launched into the wonderfully synthesized and beat filled song, those early to arrive to the show were treated to a perfect execution filled with lots of energy. Ending the track with popular track ‘They Say’ Kilter definitely put on a performance more than worth of starting off the night for Little Dragon.
After an extremely long wait between sets of 45 minutes, it was finally time to see Little Dragon take the stage. The four-piece band opened with front woman Yukimi Nagano beginning on percussion followed closely by keyboards and heavier beats on drums. Nagano began to dance before she began to sing, using fluid movements to compliment the sounds coming from the stage.
As the venue was bathed in glowing neon lights that flashed to match the beats, Nagano’s shaky start went largely unnoticed by the adoring crowd. It seemed possible that Little Dragon’s recorded sound may have just been a little too synthetic as the Swedish singer seemed to struggle to recreate some notes. Luckily the band relaxed into the set and by the time ‘My Step’ from 2009’s Machine Dreams was played, the crowds energy significantly lifted and Nagano’s running man moves were met with smiles and cheers. ‘Killing Me’ provided an amazing light show and Little Dragon continued to wow their fans with their brand of unique electronic synthpop. The highlight for this second set was unusually the instrumental ending that turned into a wonderfully epic dance set that had the entire venue dancing like crazy.
After a high energy ending, the band left the stage, however there was still a strong air of anticipation for some of their well-known tracks that had so far been omitted from the set. Having left the crowd pumped up and on a massive high, incredible roars welcomed Little Dragon’s return to the stage for ‘Little Man’ and the crowd that knew every word from the 2011 hit. Finally heading all the way back to their early days of 2007, ‘Twice’ was the very last single to be played. The hauntingly beautiful song, which has been featured in television shows and sampled within other music genres, was a fantastic way to end the show. Easily their most well known hit, Nagano absolutely hammered each note home brilliantly and the entire band was completely in sync. Here’s hoping it’s not too long until we hear more from Sweden on our southern hemisphere shores.