Safia at Festival Hall (Melbourne)

Festival Hall transformed into a massive club for one night with indie electronica group SAFIA on their first headlining national tour. Complete with smoke, lights and two lots of confetti cannons, the band held nothing back in celebrating the release of their debut album Internal.

The night began with Melburnian DJ Running Touch, who took multi-tasking to a new level in his experimental sound on vocals, synth, keyboard and guitar.

Next up was house duo Set Mo who really revved up the crowd with their techno beats, playing both original songs and remixes which the people could sing along to. The pair had their routine perfected and kept the energy high through the set. The Sydney boys were a great introduction to SAFIA, leaving the crowd pumped and excited for what was to come.

When I say they held nothing back, I mean it. The opening track was ‘My Love Is Gone’ and was completed with one round of blue and green confetti, because apparently only having confetti at the end of the show is boring and we needed an introduction blast of confetti too.

The track ‘Make Them Wheels Roll’ was greeted with screams and had the audience moving in unison to the beat. The group didn’t waste any of their precious time on stage, only stopping every now and then to acknowledge the fans who had gotten them to the point where they could play a venue as large as Festival Hall. Vocalist Ben Wooler gushed about how honoured the band was to have such a great following, and warmed all our hearts with his gratitude.

Every track from their debut album Internal was played, with the stand out tracks being ‘Bye Bye’, ‘Close To You’ and ‘Over You’. There wasn’t a still body in the venue; it was hundreds of people squashed together but still all managing to bust a move and jump up and down when instructed.

Wooler ran up and down the stage during the performance, dropping to his knees and belting out heartfelt lyrics throughout the set. His vocal range was incredibly impressive, every note he hit in the recordings were easily hit live even after performing for nearly an hour straight.

Alongside the tracks from their album they played singles like ‘Counting Sheep’, ‘You Are the One’ and their well-known collaboration with Peking Duk ‘Take Me Over’. There was even a mash up with ‘Feel Good Inc’ by Gorillaz as a surprise. The crowd sang along to each one, proving this was a fan base who had been with SAFIA since their very beginning.

There was a quick break before the group returned for an encore of three songs and one final round of pink confetti. They managed to get the entire crowd jumping up and down in unison, and after hearing people around me repeating “surely they’ll play it” over and over again the track ‘Embracing Me’ generated a roar of cheers and screams to finish off the evening.

The boys from Canberra had a very noticeable sense of gratitude and seemed very humble on stage, owning the space while still expressing their disbelief at being there. Their performance brought the tracks to life; much more than simply pressing play on a pre-recorded track, they each had a crucial part in the band. The night was finished off by holding hands and bowing to the crowd, a very grounded way to end such an elaborate and energetic performance.

PHOTOS: SAFIA AT FESTIVAL HALL.

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