Opening the night at Ballarat’s soon to be closed Karova Lounge was Sydney artist Exhibitionist (Kirsty Tickle). Exhibitionist performed in front of a gradually building crowd, as she played a strong set to kick the night off. Playing as a four piece her band consisted of Gabby Huber on synth, Adam Connelly playing lead guitar and lastly on the drums was Sydney’s Jonathan Boulet.
Her down tempo, dreamy synth pop grabbed the crowds full attention as she played songs such as ‘Hands’ and ‘Sway’. Whilst the band put on a sensational performance, the real heroes of the show were the vocal performances from both Tickle and Huber.
It was clear that the Ballarat live music faithfuls had braved the cold weather (two degrees with some light snow) to see some sweet synth pop on a Wednesday night. By the time Exhibitionist’s set had come to a close the 250 capacity room was fast becoming shoulder to shoulder. It’s not every day that a grammy nominated artist plays in a country town like Ballarat, and it was evident that the couple of hundred odd punters who filled the room at Karova Lounge appreciated that Mansionair had made the journey up the freeway to play for them.
Mansionair began their set with the two opening tracks from their debut album ‘Shadowboxer’, in ‘EST.’ and ‘Alibi’, before taking us back to their 2016 hit single ‘Hold Me Down’. ‘Hold Me Down’ highlighted how great Mansionair work together as a band, with Lachlan Bostock alternating between playing keys and bass guitar, Alex Nicholls exceptional percussion and singer Jack Froggatt’s ability to play lead guitar whilst sing like he does is pure talent.
Their set continued with some more songs from their debut LP in the guitar driven ‘Technicolour’, with Froggatt screaming the haunting lyrics of “we were in love” throughout the songs heart racing chorus. The crowd was treated to more Shadowboxer songs such as ‘Violet City’, and ‘We Could Leave’ and ‘Shadows’.
Next up we heard their 2017 hit single, in ‘Falling’. As they played this song I felt the crowd really started to connect with the band, as they sang the lyrics back to the band. The captivating Froggatt took control of the song insisting that the crowd sang the chorus with him. For me, this song was the highlight of the night and a turning point in their set.
Mansionair continued to play their hits in ‘Easier’. With the massive strings and drums throughout this track, the emotion was too much for some punters as they sang along with the band. We then saw Bostock and Froggatt come together for the beginning of ‘Harlem’, where we heard guitar harmonies from the two throughout the song that sit under Froggatt’s huge vocals. Again, another song that showed how versatile the band is with Bostock continuing the change from guitar to bass to keys. A brooding, heartfelt version of ‘I Won’t Take No For An Answer’ with band declaring that they had to play this song as it played a big part in the making of Shadowboxer.
The band received a huge around of applause when they announced that ‘Astronaut (Something About Your Love)’ would be their final song. At this point, I think the band were pinching themselves due to how wild the crowd were behaving in little old Ballarat. The Karova roof felt as though it was going to lift off during the catchy vocoder parts of the song. If you’re a fan of the song, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
They returned to the stage to deliver an encore for the fans who have been there since the start, where they played beautiful stripped back version of ’Speak Easy’. The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, as Froggatt played the repetitive, reverb soaked guitar riffs that are the backbone of the song. Mansionair closed the night out with a pumping rendition their grammy nominated collaboration with ODESZA ‘Line Of Sight’.
This was the show that will be remembered as the ‘remember when Mansionair played in Ballarat’ show, as it’s clear that these guys are destined for the biggest of stages.