On Thursday night, indie pop Sydney-siders Set Sail headlined the Chasing Summer tour at Oxford Art Factory. Despite Sydney's depressing, unseasonably shit weather, inside, the feel of summer flowed freely. If you closed your eyes you could almost taste the salt in the air and feel the sand between your toes.
I would be lying if I didn't admit that part of Set Sail's appeal is the fact that there's something on offer for every teenage girl's tastes. Set Sail are an undeniably handsome band. Each member sports a vastly different look but somehow they mesh together perfectly onstage to make beautiful, happy music. Commendations to the wonderfully enthusiastic violinist who played with so much passion that several times he snapped the bow chords and eventually, snapped the entire bow in half. As if it had happened hundreds of times before, without hesitation he simply began to play the instrument like a guitar with his fingers.
At one point, the band invited the single members of the crowd to pair up and dance on-stage. Set Sail are certainly a group that know how to engage an audience. They managed to make the night overwhelmingly fun and had everyone in the room singing, dancing, smiling and clapping, even with a remarkably upbeat rendition of the Verve's Bittersweet Symphony.
Usually I hate encores. They are a cliché. They make me incredibly angry. But when three band members remove their shirts for the encore, I can make an exception and applaud along with everyone else in the room.
Opening for Set Sail were Brisbane four-piece, Holland. Not much for small talk and playing to an audience that started out more concerned with their position in line at the bar, Holland were left to win over the room with nothing but their talent. Which they did. One of the things that sets them apart from your average generic indie-folk band is that frontman Jarryd Klapper can actually sing. Amazingly. When he hit each high note, he managed to bring near silence to the room.
Review by Celeste Macdonald