Safia’s first support act, locals Problems, took to the stage around 9:30pm and welcomed the early crowd with warm electro-pop from their debut EP, 'For The Ages'. They’ve only played a handful of shows but they sounded tight and matched the relaxed feeling of the venue.
The night’s second support, Tasmanian musician/producer Akouo, brought a Flume-like sound mixed with hip-hop to the ever-filling dancefloor. He blended dreamy pop from his EPs and remixes before Safia were welcomed on around 11pm by a packed venue.
They opened with 'Ghosts, Paranoia & Other Sounds', setting the crowd off on a dance party which didn’t wrap up for over an hour. Although it was a tiny stage, vocalist/keyboardist Ben Woolner jumped around happily, and Michael Bell (drums) and Harry Sayers (guitar/synths) were comfortable, smiling and laughing throughout the entire set. Notable songs included the infectious instrumental 'Mercury', and a remix of The Aston Shuffle’s 'Tear It Down', which both proved popular with the energetic crowd. They premiered a new song which could possibly be on an upcoming EP, or hopefully, could appear on a debut album. Unsurprisingly, the crowd responded to it like every other, not caring for its unfamiliarity. The night finished with their other signature single, the unique 'Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues', which was sung and danced to with as much enthusiasm as Ben himself.
It is not hard for a band to make their audience sway or sing, but they need to be something else to make the dance floor move to every track. The venue was perfect for Safia, although they could have done with a bigger stage to express their energy. After selling out most of their first headlining tour, and opening for Lorde on her Australian tour next month, it looks like Safia’s future is just as exciting as their stage presence.
Review and photo by Kirsten Mooney.