Tonight’s gig was always going to be an interesting prospect. First up an electronic dance gig at Whelan’s, is something State hasn’t witnessed too many times in the past and then there’s the music itself. Matthew Dear’s particular brand of dance music occupies that middle ground between beat driven dirty electro and infectious & melodic disco – the kind of music that’s great on record but inevitably very tough to do live.
A solitary trumpet with loads of dreamy delay sets the tone for the gig and a vision of ’80s excess in white, Matthew Dear arrives onstage to a loud cheer from the comfortably crammed room. Openers, Catscars have already done an impressive job, loosening up the crowd and with the opening beats of ‘Monkey’, the crowd eagerly settles into a comfortable groove.
Before Dear is a table crammed full of samplers, sequencers and the odd maraca or two, all of which is swapped for guitar, as we’re treated to a beefed up version of ‘I Can’t Feel’. The almost reverential synths of ‘Slowdance’ naturally slow things down a little before Dear picks up a block of white light to deliver one of the highlights of the night, the incredible momentum builder, ‘You Put A Smell On Me’. Purple strobes and red-flashing lights play havoc across the floor and suddenly Dear’s whiter than white suit, makes sense, capturing the light and bouncing it back across the audience. The intensity continues and by the time, Dear’s disappears off-stage, the crowd are baying out for more. A return for a three track encore including a trumpet heavy ‘Don and Sherri’, while impressive don’t quite reach the same high as before. State heads home happy but can’t help feeling that Dear’s performance would have been insanely suited to a festival bill rather than the highlight of an otherwise boring school night.