Reviewed at The Gov, Saturday May 4.
Brooke Addamo, performing under the moniker of Owl Eyes, has spent the last few years working up to this point. Steadily building up a dedicated fanbase with a successful string of EPs and singles, she’s finally released her debut album, Nightswim. She stopped by The Gov on the first stop of her Nightswim tour on Saturday and demonstrated just how far she’s come.
Owl Eyes’ set on Saturday night was noticeably different from her previous tours ﹣ and a marked improvement. Trading in her folkier tendencies for a deeper, synth-pop sound, the songs ﹣ most of them from the new album ﹣ were characterised by rumbling, low-end synths and crashing drums, while staying catchy and danceable.
Her shy banter between songs betrayed her abilities as a truly commanding performer. A lesser frontwoman would be drowned out by the noise, but Owl Eyes stayed in control, imbuing the songs with suspense and feeling. She never missed a note, and never went overboard with her vocals. She also proved adept at charming the crowd, smiling at punters, touching their hands and complimenting us on how good looking we were. Four songs in, and she had the entire room in the palm of her hand.
The gig consisted mainly of songs from Nightswim, the new album. Ranging from moody, midtempo numbers like ‘Love Run Dry’ and current single ‘Closure’ to funky, danceable numbers like ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Jewels & Sapphires’. Still, fan favourites like ‘Crystallised’ and ‘Raiders’ earned a massive response. When, without warning, she broke into a mashup of Armand Van Helden’s ‘U Don’t Know Me’ and Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’, the room absolutely exploded with excitement.
A special mention needs to be made about the support acts, who warmed up the room brilliantly. Sydney-based band Mammals delivered a short but electrifying set of dreamy, blissed out indie rock.
Collarbones brought something totally unique and unexpected to the show. A musical duo of two guys, one of whom hails from Adelaide, they delivered a captivating show of glitched-out, disorienting electronics. Not only one of the best male R&B vocals I’ve heard in ages but they did some seriously enthusiastic dancing (which was so memorable that Owl Eyes herself was moved to bring the boys onstage during her final song to dance along with her!)
When I interviewed Owl Eyes last week, she promised a fun, upbeat set. She went above and beyond that promise. Saturday night’s performance was tight, playful and moving. Owl Eyes demonstrated a masterful command of what she does and a warm, humble nature that allowed her to connect with the crowd and get them dancing along with her.
With talent and skill like hers, Owl Eyes deserves to be a household name. Don’t miss her the next time she’s here.