While the sadness experienced by punters attending the Phoenix Public House was evident (with news of its imminent closure), the atmosphere was lifted by the warmth of indie pop rock as prescribed by The Emperors.
The opening of the set allowed the crowd to gain a feel for what Emperors’ debut album Stay Frosty is really all about. Initially there was not the most enthusiastic embrace, the crowd showing cautious curiosity, but that’s to be expected considering those who have heard them on the radio are more comfortable with the pop rock anthems; rather than the soulful tones of tracks such as “Tired of Winning” and “Rebecca”.
The band engaged the crowd asking them to “come out of the shadows” and the hipster crowd obliged forward marching to the dancefloor to head nod, foot tap and openly appreciate the lucid tones of singer, Adam Livingston.
The band is obviously tight and enjoys working together, as often comes from Perth bands. Dane Knowles is an exceptional drummer who shows consistent passion for his craft throughout the entire set, drawing comments from the crowd along the lines of “that dude is having a fit of fun”.
Greg Sanders’ guitar work holds everything together and, as cliché as it is, seeing a cool rock chick, in this case Zoe James on bass, always gives a bit of a kick. Meanwhile, Adam Livingston’s voice has true quality and a ruggedness which transcends the indie pop rock genre.
Towards the end of the set the atmosphere became palpable with major singles “Plastic Guns” and “Be Ready When I Say Go” still yet to be played.
When “Plastic Guns” was unleashed, it brought energy to the punters with the melodic intro leaping into a heavy riff infused with the nostalgia of the indie rock-centric 90s. Prompting a collective fist pumping action combined with raised glasses.
“Be Ready When I Say Go” had a distinctive enthusiastic beat partnered with power chords and a catchy cry-out-loud chorus, it’s a pure anthem and will no doubt be a festival favourite, for those moments when slightly buzzed crowds need to carried along by energetic force.
Showing off only part of their personalities throughout the set, it would have been nice to see more engagement with the audience from Emperors outside of their kinetic tunes. However, this being their first national headline tour, they’re likely to find their groove and show more to their audience than just their musical skills as they rack the shows up.
– Belynda Reid