A travelling festival is always good news for music fans. They usually mean that a pretty great selection of sideshows will hit your city – and Groovin the Moo provided exactly that. Just before kicking off the second weekend of the festival, MSMR supported by Perth due GRRL PAL took to the stage at the Prince Bandroom in Melbourne.
GRRL PAL – previous Triple J Unearthed Listen Out winners for 2015 – aimed to release a new track each month last year. A fairly decent crowd had formed to see the support act and for a two piece their sound filled the venue quite well. In a cute combination of a silver crop top and overalls, front woman Jay LeKat delivered their tunes well and managed to incite some bizarrely creative dance moves amongst the crowd.
About a 30 minute interval allowed the crowd to grow a little more before the headliners arrived, but thankfully unlike too many shows, it wasn’t oversold which meant enough dancing space for everyone. Hailing from NYC, MSMR have graced our shores before and when they launched themselves on stage the energy was high and incredibly engrossing. I honestly don’t recall the last time I saw someone so visibly ecstatic to be on stage. The energy from MS (Lizzy Plapinger) was truly electrifying from beginning to end and with a huge smile on her face she absolutely belted out their set and not once fell short of amazing showmanship. The rapport between Plapinger and MR (Max Hershenow) was enjoyable to watch and his moves behind the keyboard explained the playful movements spotted within the group of super fans at the front of the stage.
Opening with 2015’s ‘Reckless’, MSMR were loud but clear and set an excellent platform for the rest of the set. Tracks like ‘Fantasy’ showcased excellent vocal layering from the band which added a new dimension to their sound. While most of the set was full of movement, ‘BTSK’ was one occasion where everything was toned down a little more and Plapinger’s already wonderful, strong vocals had their chance to shine even more.
While MS MR is marketed as a two-piece their live shows include a drummer, who was consistently solid and a bassist/keyboardist/harmonist who switched between instruments so quickly that he rarely took his bass off – even when it wasn’t in use. These two extra musicians were just as much a part of the performance as MSMR themselves as they too were full of energy and sounded very tight. The entire set was absolutely pumping however MSMR certainly know where their strengths are, as the second half was hit after hit with the crowd. ‘Think of You’ and ‘How Does It Feel’ immediately filled the room with delight and each chorus was belted out by the entire room. It was impossible not to be swept up in the excitement and the good vibes kept Plapinger genuinely repeating her thanks to the crowd for having them back in Melbourne.
‘Painted’ – the opening track from How Does it Feel sounded so remarkable that when MSMR left the stage after its end, I was pretty sure there would be no encore. It seemed impossible to end on anything higher, but sure enough they had two more in store for their fans. ‘Bones’ from 2013’s Secondhand Rapture absolutely blew me away.
To be honest I wasn’t sure whether MSMR’s recorded sound would translate well on stage, but they more than pleasantly surprised me with their perfect mix of energy and great musicianship. Special mention must be made of Plapingers epic skin tight latex two piece. I’m not entirely sure how she got into it – it looked like she’d been dipped in wax, but she looked amazing and still managed to move wildly even with the amount of sweat coming off her and an eventual tear in the leg from all the rigorous dancing.