Grouplove + The Ruminaters // The Metro Theatre // 15/02/18

Making their triumphant return to Australia (following a cancelled tour back in 2017), California rock band Grouplove brought boundless energy and a rapturous set, which left fans of old and new smitten for a band that have continuously proved themselves as one of the biggest indie bands of the decade.

Walking into the venue, The Metro’s stage immediately demands every patrons’ attention. It is no secret that front-woman Hannah Hooper handles majority of Grouplove’s art, in and out of album arts. Three gigantic hands are draped from above the stage that are drowned in splashes of neon paint, reminiscent of the ecstatic blend of colour, perfectly matching the aesthetic of Big Mess, the band’s third full length effort.

Opening for our beloved foreigners was Psychedelic Rock four-piece The Ruminaters. Impossible to go unnoticed, The Ruminaters have striking genre differences to main act Grouplove, with their hard 70s influence, which was sure to go appreciated by those in attendance. The band hosted off with an array of fast paced rock tracks with insanely exciting guitar riffs that got the crowd pumping. The band proceeded to calm down towards the middle of their set into the kind of band you could have a chill solo dance to.

After hitting the crowd with their slower tunes, The Ruminaters introduced the crowd to their debut single, I Wanna Fight, with front-man Pencil proclaiming he doesn’t actually want to fight, in typical stage banter manner. The Ruminaters proceeded with their final song Bad Bad Things, which proved to be another fast-paced rock track, effectively allowing the band’s set to mimic some form of crescendo.

For a band that released their first single, I Wanna Fight, a short six months ago, The Ruminaters will surely prove themselves to be a mainstay in the Australian indie rock scene over the next year, and will capture the attention of Violent Soho and Tame Impala fans alike.

In the brief intermission between support and main, concert goers packed in and the room quickly filled, and it became instantly clear just how beloved Grouplove are on Australian turf. Familiar synth from track Welcome To Your Life begins, and the crowd ramps up almost instantaneously. It’s clear, after Hannah Hooper’s vocal rest, that Grouplove are back in business.

With their set landing just over the hour mark, The Metro was blessed with a mix of modern indie classics, the best bits from Grouplove’s latest album Big Mess, and a new song, unusually grimly titled This Is The End. Within the set, concert goers were also privy to impressive covers of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, blended perfectly within arguably the band’s biggest track Tongue Tied, as well as a high-octane rendition of Beastie Boys’ Sabotage. During which, Frontman Christian Zucconi dived into the crowd, guitar in hand and played quite literally over heads.

The chemistry and love between every single band member is clear to all those in attendance, especially between married front members Christian and Hannah. In a single phrase, the band epitomizes ‘wholesome’ perfectly.

Throughout the set, Hannah encouraged the crowd to start three separate shoey chants, which ultimately resulted in four shoeys from various members of the band. By the time the third call for shoeys began, Christian jokingly shaked his head as his wife kept pressing for shoeys. The fascination Americans have with our strange little cultural phenomenon will never cease to amaze me. Nonetheless, the crowd joyously chanted along with Hannah (of course).

As the set came to a close with Remember That Night, the crowd, naturally, demanded an encore. However, there was a large section of the crowd chanting for more shoeys. Would you rather see Grouplove play more songs or would you rather see a man drink from a shoe?

Giving praise to beloved radio station Triple J, Hannah described the process of becoming successful in Grouplove, noting that the station is responsible for their first radio plays, stating ‘Triple J is the best station in the entire world’, before finishing their set with their first ever single, Colours. The love felt for the band in The Metro is insurmountable, and gasps of excitement can be heard as Christian launches his guitar into the air as high as he can before flawlessly catching it to end the set (for good this time).

All in all, the privilege of seeing Grouplove in a venue like The Metro was a blissful experience. Every single member of the band is fun and their performances inspiring to watch. This is definitely a show that I’ll be remembering for the rest of the year.