Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos
Last night, Sydney based musician and producer KESMAR made his return to the stage, performing two sold-out headline shows at The Vanguard in Sydney. Having just released his latest single, Back Up, the musician leans into groove-tinged sounds with flecks of disco and funk.
Along for the ride was musician Taj Ralph, opening the show with his unique blend of bedroom pop infused with threads of modern RnB. The musician took to the stage with his guitar in hand, accompanied by drummer Callum Hulme. Playing through his catalogue of released singles and performing tracks off his soon to be released debut EP, Wall 2 Break, Ralph’s vocals broke through the minimalist production, showcasing the smooth and lush textures of his voice. Ralph closed his set with his latest single Wall 2 Break, driven by a killer guitar riff. Ralph and Hulme had a great onstage rapport, feeding off each other as they played through the set, with Ralph’s stage presence showing the beginnings of a great live act in its formative stage.
Accompanied by his four-piece band, KESMAR, the musical project of Nathan Hawes, brought the 80’s glow of dreamy disco to Sydney last night, transporting audience members back in time for an entrancing live show. From the minute Hawes stepped on stage, he captivated the audience. In a time where live shows have become stripped back, with artists reimagining their songs for a more intimate setting, Hawes went full-throttle with his set. Taking on a more freeform format, the musicians left themselves with more space to improvise and create an authentic live experience. Groovy bass lines, slinky piano, swirling synths and scintillating percussion all took centre stage, orbiting around the musicians pure and sublime vocal performance.
Opening the set with a new track, Delora, the musician set the scene for the nostalgic and retro collection of songs that was to follow. Performing through tracks from his debut EP Up To You, Hawes also treated fans to to a handful of unreleased tracks, set to appear on his sophomore EP. Whilst the majority of the set showcased Hawes’ harmonious blend of disco and bedroom pop, songs such as Caroline and Just Waiting provided slower moments, with Caroline serving as the ultimate 70’s/80’s prom tune. With Hawes and his band dressed in 70’s inspired suits, and the nostalgia flowing, maybe we really were transported back to 1989? Meanwhile, Just Waiting saw band member Tim Ayre take to the mic, singing on the song with Hawes.
One of the sets standout moments was an unreleased track which melodically called back to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, complete with an epic jazz filled break. The night was complete with Hawes’ latest singles, Back Up and Meteorite. The charismatic Back Up features irresistible melodies and an effortlessly catchy hook, lifting the energy within the venue and providing some standout synth moments. Closing with Meteorite, Hawes thanked the audience for selling out the venue, before asking them to join him for a sing-a-long of the track. The evening was the perfect blend of nostalgic sounds within a contemporary landscape, with Hawes captivating the audience with his commanding stage presence and incredible vocal performance.
Stay tuned for our interview with KESMAR, and an exclusive stripped back performance of Back Up, out tomorrow!