On the monumental wave that is ‘Hi Viz’, their first major release in nearly six years, The Presets are coasting Australia with a national tour that has so far been seen and heard by Perth, Adelaide, and as of this this past weekend, Melbourne. The duo showed the city some love and stopped by Forum Theatre where their affection was reciprocated by hundreds of fans assembled on a sticky dancefloor.
Julian Hamilton (vocals, synths) and Kim Moyes (drums), the brilliant minds that together form The Presets, took their positions on stage behind a drum kit and an electronic command station which sat in front of a massive visual display. From here, they conducted a one and a half hour party that featured only the most high-energy tracks from ‘Hi Viz’ and earlier works including ‘Pacifica’ and ‘Apocalypso’. Each song was supported by an outstanding visual display that would have been equally at home in a museum as it was on stage; elements from the colorful ‘Hi Viz’ album cover blended with glitch art that synchronized with every pulse of each song, and in turn, the movements of the crowd. This relationship shared by the performance elements onstage and the audience was characterized by effect without cause. My intuition told me that the music evoked reaction from the crowd, but caught among the masses, it seemed just as likely that the flow of the audience produced changes in the music. Consequently, everyone in the room quite literally lost their minds to crowd mentality, spawning one intoxicated collective consciousness.
Solidarity reached its peak when the crowd pulsed in time to the empathic chorus of ‘My People’, galvanizing the generation of a single party animal bathed in sweat and uncontained euphoria. This overjoy lasted throughout the night, taking the form of moshes and crowd surfing that grew especially frenetic during the intense breakdowns of ‘Until the Dark’ and ‘14U+14ME’. Many dancers found the floor, but the amiable Melbourne crowd saw to it that nobody was knocked down for long.
The none too subtle build and release of techno-house bop ‘Youth in Trouble’ also marked a high point in the night, as did the uplifting disco jam ‘Downtown Shutdown’, which most accurately essentialized the carefree atmosphere that arose from the intimate connection between stage and dancefloor. More broadly, ‘Hi Viz’ perfectly captures the essence of a feel-good celebration such as the one that took place upon The Presets’ visit to Forum Theatre. As a witness to the energy created that night, I can’t help but agree with Hamilton’s description of the album: ‘Hi Viz’ is truly a “banging party record” for a bash you won’t want to miss, so make sure you catch The Presets as they travel Australia and beyond. Check out tour dates here.