Saturday, 12 September 2015

Safia at the Factory Theatre

“Do you guys want an album?” Safia’s loved vocalist Ben Woolner screamed out to a sold out Factory Theatre. In reverse career mode, the Canberra three-piece is now a household name in Australian music with just five official singles. They brought stadium level dynamics to a medium-sized venue (read: strobe lights and moving visuals) and turned an local weeknight gig into something really memorable.

Throughout the night, the band had a firm grasp on suspense. From the visual ticking metronome before ‘Counting Sheep’ to the looping ‘Take Me Over’ intro, riling up the audience like an animal call, we were made to savour the setlist. It felt like getting clues from a band with a decade worth of discography behind them. In the middle of the set, well placed, we heard the most sentimental, falsetto-sweet tracks, including ‘Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues’ and ‘You Are The One.’

You know it’s been a good gig when the songs stick in your head on the way home. Ben’s vocals are the heart of the band and his dedication to performing was sincere. Sometimes the stadium antics felt a little cheesy, (“I want to see your hands up! Sing along Sydney!) but it is nice to feel involved, especially when it doesn’t feel forced. It would have been an extra treat to hear their covers of fellow balladeers (James Vincent McMorrow, Alt-J), which featured in their sets earlier this year, but this gig was all about originals.

You also know it’s been a good gig when someone throws a bra on stage. Safia are far from the Red Hot Chili Peppers in attitude but it looks like they warrant the same love from their fans. After chants of “one more song,” the band came back for a five-minute distorted jam and a performance of ‘Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds.’ Guitarist Harry Sayers threw his picks into the audience and the faded down. Something tells me they’ll be playing hall-sized venues on their next Australian tour.

Published on theAUReview

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