On one of Melbourne’s warmer nights of recent record saw recent “ARIA Breakthrough Artist Nominee” The Kite String Tangle (aka Danny Harley) grace The Corner Hotel for the second sold out Melbourne show of his headline tour, featuring Brisbane fast riser Golden Vessel on support duties.

If there was ever a support act who could ease you into a headliner with ambience, featuring just the right amount of groove to get you going Golden Vessel well and truly takes the cake. Performing his live set as a duo with Akurei on the vocals and instrumentation also, the two shared a cohesive bond from the get go as the set started with ‘Tell The Girl’. The crowd instantly connected with the concise percussion that carries the core of the track, allowing each punter to feed off the energy created by catchy nature of the lyric “I don’t need a reason to love you // I don’t need a reason”.

A clever change of pace to the set was when Golden Vessel himself featured on main vocals for ‘Right/Side’. Featuring a strong yet unique low end tone to his melodies, the addition of these vocals to the overall feel of the set allowed for the crowd to be caught off guard and not know what was going to happen next. The set rounded off with the upbeat synth-filled delight ‘Shoulders’, which featured both Akurei and Golden Vessel share the roles of main vocals throughout the track, and supporting each other on the backing vocals as well. The ending of ‘Shoulders’ allowed Golden Vessel the perfect podium for the sold-out crowd to be energised for the set to follow, with the track closing out through a cleverly designed dance bracket full of electronic samples courtesy of Akurei on the drum pad and plenty of movement in the synths through Golden Vessel.

Once the curtains had opened for The Kite String Tangle’s set to begin, we immediately notice that there is a three-piece band setup on stage which catches a few offside. Previous experiences of seeing TKST live showed a solo setup with plenty of intricate lighting going on in the background, so it was going to be interesting to see how the live band setup would shape in this format. This thought is immediately quashed as an instrumental introduction starts off the night, with all elements of the live band (that being the keys, Danny with a hybrid synth/drum pad setup and the drums) their individual moments to shine. The Kite String Tangle is bringing forth some massive amounts of passion through the introduction that gives us a small glimpse of what we’re in for later.

‘Stone Cold’ receives an immediate reaction from the crowd as soon as the track commences through The Kite String Tangle’s vocals, which then become secondary to the mix as opening support Austen take centre stage on guest vocals, and gets the crowd going in the chorus. What catches everyone off guard in ‘Stone Cold’ is the half time drop at the ending which carried copious amounts of electronica and synth that gave the track an impressively emphatic send off.

The Kite String Tangle moves forward in the set with a remix of fellow label mates Lastlings’ track ‘Urges’, which sees Danny bring forth that aforementioned high energy in his own performance and lead beautifully into the biggest hit, ‘Given The Chance’. The crowd erupted once the track was introduced, and the chorus heard a choir like response from all in the venue with many belting the lyrics at the top of their lungs. The main highlight within ‘Given The Chance’ was how the live drums adapted into the track, blending into the original characteristics of what makes the track great and taking it into a new direction full of impact.

The implementation of live horns into the live band feel of the performance acted as a brilliant masterstroke from The Kite String Tangle, and it was highlighted through recent release ‘This Thing We Got’. In an already resounding track full of percussion and sampled vocals, the horns add a unique splash of colour which gives the piece a unique edge without over complicating the mix. It was then noted that these horn players were members of The Cat Empire, which saw the crowd give them the respect they deserved for their performances.

The set rounded out with the highlight of the night, the haunting banger ‘Selfish’. What made this track so great on the night was how the lighting was manipulated cleverly to match the emotional intensity of the track. Throughout the duration of the set the lighting was on top of its game, but it must be noted that during ‘Selfish’ the strobe effects in the chorus, as well as the smoke machine providing a thick fog over the stage allowed the crowd to be transported into the thematic scenery of which the song was written about. After this, the crowd demanded an encore which resulted in an impressive EDM influenced cover of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ that featured substantial synth and bass presence that got the crowd up and about with a lot of movement, and rounding out the night with an extended version of ‘Arcadia’. In this moment, many punters were on people’s shoulders giving a real festival vibe to The Corner Hotel.

It is safe to say that The Kite String Tangle has well and truly mastered his craft, both on his recordings and on a live stage. It seems from this performance that Danny has well and truly matured into his own enigma, and it raises no doubts that in the short-term future we will being seeing more of these shows in larger venues.

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author: Chris Salce
photo by: Duncan Jacob

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