Young And Restless + Soft Tigers
400 Bourke Street, Newcastle
NSW, 2304, Australia.
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From the moment tonight’s headliners Young and Restless took to the stage, it was obvious that this was a curiously mismatched bill. Of course, by then drummer Nugie Utomo had already filled in behind the kit for an undermanned Soft Tigers, and he was to play a substantial part in proceedings. His night was to end triumphantly, as the driving force behind his regular gig – the bold and beautiful, if slightly contrived Y&R – but it didn’t begin in such certain terms.
With a reputation for loose sets at the best of times, Soft Tigers started with an unsteady rendition of ‘Creation’ off their Gospel Ambitions debut. After Utomo was announced to be playing his first show with the band, it became unclear whether he leant an assured pair of hands or contributed himself to the awkward yet endearing mess of indie, dance and hip-hop. There was an honesty, quite unexpected, about their performance; as if putting on a show was secondary to trying out the unconventional.
In contrast Young and Restless came out with a direct plan of attack. More exciting in the broader sense, the five-piece enticed the healthy midweek crowd with a heavy dose of showmanship. Frontwoman Karina Utomo threw her body – or lack thereof – into every piercing howl as the band speed-riffed their way into something approaching monotony. As forceful gave way to forced, one couldn’t help but wonder how they can further their screamy shtick. Well, you know, there could be benefit in sending band members out on scouting missions...
by Carl Dixon