The Cairos gig at Jive Bar kicked off with first support act, Messrs, from Adelaide. They started off well, with a lot of energy and the singer, Josh, at times sounding like Kele from Bloc Party. The rest of the band performed valiantly and professionally, ensuring each song kept going but unfortunately after a couple of songs their efforts were hindered by the singer’s inability to take the performance seriously. He is obviously quite likeable when you get to know him, as evidenced by the number of friends he had in the audience and the fact that The Cairos called him up onstage during their set for a duet. Unfortunately, to those who don’t know him, he seems like a total knob and struggled to sing in tune, especially when hitting his totally redundant drum at the front of the stage. Messrs’ songs sound good, though the lyrics became increasingly hard to decipher as the show went on. The singer blustered his way through, interspacing songs with in-jokes with the other groups on the bill (which made no sense to anyone else and were only intended to show off the fact that the other bands liked him) and general inane chatter before finally, thankfully, their set came to a close. Their songs and rhythm section showed today that they are capable of great things, unfortunately they will always rub some people up the wrong way until their singer learns the difference between having fun onstage and just fucking around.
Following that disappointing start, it was a relief to see next band The Preachers, take the stage and show their professionalism from the get-go. Insisting on getting their sound right before starting, this was a markedly different experience to the previous group. The Prophets performed with energy and precision: They were tight the whole way through, from the driving rhythm section to their impressive vocals. This is a group who have performed together a lot and who have made the effort to polish their performance until it’s as good as it can be. They are helped no end by the huge charisma held by their two lead vocalists: Gideon Bensen and Isabella Manfredi. These two grab your attention the moment they open their mouths and they refused to let go of it until they walked off stage, leaving the crowd gobsmacked. They know what they want and they know how to get it, with such clear direction and strong performance skills, it is hard to see them not taking Australia by storm. At the moment some of their songs aren’t as memorable as they could be and would benefit from stronger lyrics but when they get it right, it is amazing. This was clear on the two tracks (Take A Card/Threat) they’ve already released from their upcoming EP. If these two songs are anything to go by, The Preachers are a group we are going to be hearing a huge amount this year. We think they might have just leapt to the top of our favourite local bands list.
The Cairos whipped on stage and dragged the crowd with them, doubling the number of people on the floor. They harmonised well together but weren’t as strong as the efforts of The Preachers or the abundance of the more harmony-heavy folk groups that are around at the moment. Watching the group on stage, one thing is clear, the group’s lead singer, Alistar Richardson, is not the focal point of the band. Despite his level of input, your attention is still drawn first to bassist, Reuben Schafer, and secondly to guitarist, Alfio Alivuzza. This is not helped by the fact that Richardson clearly struggles with some of the vocals on their tracks, particularly the high parts. However, his lyrics are always clear and when he’s hitting it well, there is definitely a Shins sound to his delivery. This was very evident when The Cairos got to Shame and the energy and audience interaction here was carried into the next song, which left us wishing they could have hit this level earlier in the gig and left us feeling amazing about it! We won’t mention the guest performance by Messrs’ singer Josh, as his previous efforts hadn’t endeared him to us. The duet with The Preachers’ Manfredi was really enjoyable, though it highlighted the difference between the two groups, as it reminded us just how professional The Preachers were, compared to The Cairos who seem to be a more natural, effortless talent.
The Cairos write great songs that are really catchy and they work the crowd well. They would do well to spend some time with The Preachers to polish their live act and when The Preachers release their new EP, Australia is going to have two very hot acts on their hands.