On Friday night Melbourne band Alpine played at the Fat Controller, supported by local bands Auguste and The Montreals.

Three piece Auguste opened the night with their smooth, atmospheric electronic. “Stoked” that their first gig ever was in August, they did not disappoint. The two girls traded vocal duties, backing each other well. Playing with keys, guitar and drums, this band is one to watch for the future. The crowd appreciated this lovely warm up to the night.

Next up were The Montreals, a rowdy local band. Their fast, fun pop got the audience bouncing and cheering. Despite a small fumble at the start of one of the songs, the band played well and engaged the audience.

Alpine hit the stage at about 11:30pm, squeezing all six members onto the Fat Controller’s tiny stage. Front-women Phoebe and Lou were charismatic from the beginning. Opening with ‘Villages’ the band was certainly playing well.

ALPINE1Phoebe’s eccentric dancing style entertained throughout the night. Lou is a fantastic performer, constantly engaging people with her deep stare. The girls each have their individual charms and make for a wonderfully entertaining pair.

When listening to the albums, it is hard to tell who is singing, hard to even differentiate the voices. However, when performing live it becomes clear who is who and a new dimension is added to the music. The layered vocals are certainly not lost in a live performance as may be expected.

There were a few technical issues to be sorted out, but this did not detract from the performance. The guitarist stood up to this occasion and played a bright interlude while the girls entertained by throwing banter at each other.

The dynamic of the band is such that the girls are constantly the source of entertainment and the lure of the audience’s attention. This means that unless one consciously focuses on the other band members, they are not seen and appreciated.

Alpine played all the hits, keeping the audience happy with songs from both ‘A is for Alpine’ and ‘Yuck’. The song ‘Foolish’ was definitely a crowd favourite. At some points it was almost as if the band had brought in a choir for the night, so many people were singing along.

Another hit song was the band’s breakout song from 2012, ‘Gasoline’. The girls’ vocals were right on form and the band played this song with a great exuberance. It is hard to choose one song from the night that stood out more than any of the others. They were all performed so well. My favourite was the gregarious ‘Damn Baby’, an excellent finish to the night.

Seeing Alpine live really changes the way one views them. On the album their songs sound similar, there is little change in tone. However, when experienced live the music seems to take on a whole new attitude. Phoebe and Lou’s dynamic performances, both vocally and in dancing, are a highlight. The band’s sound changes with the atmosphere that comes with small gig-type performances, giving it a new edge.

Review and photo by Tessa Manning