Ah festival season. It bring with it high hopes and hotpants, big dreams and bigger queues, not to mention some of the most coveted acts both local and international. The festival season also means many a sideshow. In the lead up to the highly anticipated Meredith Music Festival this weekend, Ladyhawke dropped by the Tote to play a sold out warm up gig. Considering the perfect summer night, and the tiny, tiny band room of the Tote bathed in purple light and jammed full of punters, “warm up” was most appropriate. Thankfully, the ceiling fans were turned on early.

With the support act consisting of a neglected DJ booth and a Smashing Pumpkins best of CD, there was little to get in the way of the main act. Billy Corgan’s nasally whine on “1979” setting the scene, bringing home the feeling of a party in your best friends basement. The crowd is a very mixed one, dotted with Pip-alikes, gym bunnies, hipsters and suit and tie types. Everything and everyone between Nova and Triple J.

Having spent the better part of 2011 cooped up in the studio working on Anxiety, the follow to 2009’s self-titled album which spawned the huge hits “Paris Is Burning” and “My Delirium”, the Pip Brown-fronted Ladyhawke are ready to show off the fruits of their labour. Originally slated for release in October 2011, Anxiety has unfortunately been pushed back to March 2012. Fear not, it is definitely worth the wait.

Seemingly materialising from thin air, Ladyhawke take the stage and open with a new tracks “Blue Eyes” and “Anxiety”, both of which set the tone for the new album which promises to be full of synth heavy indie pop. “Thank you all for coming tonight” a sweaty but happy looking Brown says before playing “Magic” off their first album.

Another new track “Girl Like Me” follows closely behind. New songs weave seamlessly into old favourites until the tantric tongue tangling of gigantically tall women her boyfriend who was easily a foot shorter than her seriously compromised the view during “The Quick And The Dead”.

As the opening strains of “Paris Is Burning” filled the air, the crowd slowly but surely dissolved into an all-out dance party proving that their first single is still as popular now as it was on its release two years ago. Unfortunately the close to unbearable heat caused by so many sweaty bodies dancing all over each other ended up forcing many a punter outside to cool off. “Sunday Drive” with it’s almost Bowie-esque late night danceability is certainly the single from “Anxiety” to watch.

The show closed with crowd and Triple J favourite “My Delirium”, causing many of those outside to try and squeeze their way back in for one last dance, the one hour set feeling all too short.

If it wasn’t highly anticipated before, Ladyhawke’s faultless show at the Tote and their upcoming stint at Meredith should certainly pique interest in “Anxiety”. With a 70s glam rock meets 80s synth vibe, the result is something which will equal the success of their debut album if not surpass it completely.

– Madison Thomas