Walking into the Enmore theatre last Friday night, the excitement of the crowd was palpable. Basenji was still owning the decks and yet the entire theatre was packed wall to wall. In the dead of winter, fans had turned up and were ready to welcome Hermitude home.
After the immediate success of Dark Night Sweet Light there was no shock to this reviewer to learn that the show was sold out but it’s a testament to the duo’s prowess to have every audience member that pumped up. Even the kids stuck in the dress circle (upstairs) were jumping off their seats and grooving like they were front row at a festival.
When Hermitude did finally take the stage the response was staggering, the screams emanating from the crowd immediately set the tone for the evening, that was, awe-inspiring.
First off, whoever was in charge of the lighting and visual design for the show is an absolute demon. EDM shows can fall so flat without the right production flair and it was clear Hermitude had no intention of doing anything half-assed. For the entire show, the backdrop was alight with animated visuals to compliment the set - from brightly hued-cartoon jungles to serene Australian coast lines and every whacky thing in-between. One may assume that such bombastic visuals are a ploy to distract the audience (who, let’s be honest…probably couldn’t see that far in front of their own faces). Hermitude however, had no reason to distract from what they were up to onstage as this was no ordinary EDM performance.
I’ve been told that the showmanship has progressed phenomenally since their last home-town show in 2013, there were no awkward stops and starts between songs, the entire set had been conducted in a way that everything flowed effortlessly into one another. Both Stuart and Dubber were keeping themselves plenty busy onstage re-creating their most loved tracks. Stuart (aka El Gusto) was busy scratching throughout while Dubber took control over various sample pads, at one point the pair snatched up a sample pad and synth respectively and had a major “solo-off” in a call and response setting. Its crazy to see two multi-instrumentalists completely own what they’re playing especially within their genre where laptops do so much of the work for you. If anybody at the Enmore doubted their musicality or virtuosity then they definitely had those doubts vanquished by this.
As the tour was to highlight the DNSL album, we got a real taste of most tracks off it but the boys made sure to keep their older fans happy with a few throwbacks. When the duo dropped Hyperparadise an already insane crowd absolutely lost the plot. There wasn’t a still body in the room and the floor beneath me shook with the weight of a thousand exuberant dancers (I was legitimately scared of the floor collapsing and for the rest of the song I had visions of being stuck underneath the sweaty bodies of the dudes next to me who were chewing their own faces off…not a fun way to die).
Hermitude also brought along Mataya & Young Tapz for the ride too (who both feature numerous times on the new album). Both young artists had amazing stage presence and were not intimidated by the enormity of the stage or crowd in front of them. Finishing on a high, Hermitude performed absolute banger The Buzz and it became hard to figure out who was having a better time, Mataya, Young Tapz, Hermitude or the audience. This is the kind of welcome home all artists dream of and it could not have been more deserved. Hermitude worked hard from start to finish and upheld a humbleness in the way of multiple thanks to such a reception that you couldn’t help be taken by them. If all live shows were this impressive, Sydney would be alive with music every single weekend.