Balance and Composure + Oslow // Factory Theatre // 28/03/17

With apologies to Dear Seattle and Introvert.

Although still not quite in their mid-20s, Oslow already feel like veterans of Sydney’s independent music scene. Their mathy, emo-tinged blend of indie-rock and post-hardcore has brought them a myriad of fans and a steady run of shows. Their immediate surrounds this evening are not unfamiliar whatsoever – the band performed a headliner in The Fusebox next door; and have played their fair share of shows downstairs at the Factory Floor. Tonight marks their second time performing in the main room following a Title Fight support awhile back; and is easily their most confident and assured time performing at the venue. It’s partly to do with the release of their impressive debut album, but it’s also worth noting how far Oslow have come in just a couple of years. They are now frontrunners in their scene and the pride of Western Sydney. They deserve every last bit of their success.

2016 saw the release of Light We Made, the third and faraway best release from Pennsylvanian emo darlings Balance and Composure. To be seeing the band on the back of such a versatile, progressively-minded LP is already an exciting prospect. What elevates this set, however, is seeing what this new material has done for Balance’s live show. Vocalist Jon Simmons – usually hidden behind a guitar – has found the confidence to perform without it, raving unto the joy fantastic during the blissful “Midnight Zone” and the hypnotic “Postcard.” By the same token, there is also a new sense of urgent intensity to older songs like “Notice Me” and the heaving, grungy “Void,” the latter of which shifts the audience from spectators to active participants. The band may have developed and changed over the years, but they showcase all of their albums with a sense of pride. Better yet, it’s all performed to the absolute best of their collective abilities; with the crowd responding enthusiastically to every twist and turn. Though Balance and Composure may not be a household name, the residencies that do know the band immediately feel like home. Sets like this clearly, proudly show why that is.

 – David James Young