If you were not at the Bootleg Theater last night, then you missed a perfect night of pop. I have been following the two acts on the bill for some time, but this was the first opportunity that I got to actually see them perform live. Local pop-rock group LAYNE opened the night with a raucous energy; they were followed by up-and-coming Aussie indie rockers Cub Sport.
I did not directly work with her during my time as a publicist, but LAYNE and I are both tied to the former MuseBox, currently operating under the title Koral Young. I remember how excited my co-worker was to work LAYNE’s campaign; their sound is fresh and their live performance- now that I’ve seen it- is invigorating. It is no wonder they attracted such a dedicated crowd that night. People were live-streaming the show and singing along to every lyric, it was impressive.
The band was spirited and skillfully coordinated, and I’m referring to more than just their black wardrobe; even though Putnam, lead vocals, was the only one mic’ed, I often caught the other two guitars singing emphatically along, and their jaunty dancing was ever so slightly choreographed as well. It was adorable and fun, and made me happy to see them really starting to find their audience.
Now, I’ve loved Cub Sport since their debut EP release came in the mail at my college radio station. I added that and their follow up EP to our rotation as they were released, and even had the chance to interview their lead singer, Tim Nelson. But being from Australia, their tours to the US were few and far between. You can imagine my joy at finally being able to catch them play live, in support of their debut full-length album, This is Our Vice.
Cub Sport is a synth pop band at heart, and it shone through during their set. Nelson would accompany on guitar for some tracks, but when he was relegated to the second keyboard, that’s when the magic happened. Tracks like “I Can’t Save You” can sound like CHVRCHES, but with lyrics that are more grounded in real life. Also, Nelson’s sweet falsetto is extremely satisfying to hear live. On This is Our Vice, it is the softer songs like “Come on Mess Me Up” and “I Don’t Love My Baby” that I’m drawn to more than their signature saccharine pop jingles; played live, though, I can’t deny that hearing their classic single “Told You So” made me giddy.
Most of Cub Sport’s set that night was drawn from their LP, with exceptions made for only a few tracks from their previous releases. They also covered “This Must Be the Place” by Talking Heads, a perfect song to sum up all their influences at once. Ending their set on a high note, their finale was their high octane, new wave anthem “I’m on Fire,” where they demanded to be ‘put out’ even though they were only just getting started.
I bought a shirt and chatted with the band after the show, which seemed over rather quickly with the lack of an encore. (In fairness, most of LAYNE’s fans did not stick around for the whole of Cub Sport’s set and left the Bootleg looking sparse toward the end.) I mentioned having interviewed Tim, and he reminded me of an awkward moment from that day that, in all honesty, I had completely forgotten about. I really just wanted to ask them if for this current tour they were planning to put together one of their infamous tour diary vlogs, which are deadpan feats of genius. I hope they do, but more importantly I hope that they simply find themselves touring the US more often; I don’t want to have to go four years before seeing them live again.
Words: Zoë Brown