The Palais Theatre in St Kilda seemed like a fitting venue for Dope Lemon to showcase their live performance of Smooth Big Cat, along with some classics from their first album Honey Bones, however, trying to contain a full house to not get up out of their seats to dance was proven not to work. By the end the audience was all up and dancing, I mean how can you not sway along to ‘Home Soon’?
The night began with support act Golf Alpha Bravo. All I know is that they should keep doing what they’re doing. The band has pretty much no released music, yet score some really cool gigs like opening for Dope Lemon. They are the definition of laid back funkadelic music. The trio produce honest music with no tricks, just real good tunes and sensational riffs.
Enter Dope Lemon. A suspenseful and instrumental entry to the stage was a driving way to begin the set. Opening with ‘Stone Cutters’ and ‘How Many Times’ from their first album, it was clear that no matter how laid back listening to Dope Lemon is, the live version is so much more complex and heavy.Perhaps I even prefer the live version of Dope Lemon. However, vocals seemed less important in person, as opposed to the recordings. I found myself drifting from the lyrics and focusing a lot more on the bigger picture, the band as a whole and not just Angus Stone.
The set up of the stage was most impressive, one of my favourite set ups I’ve seen. The lines of lights and lit up Dope Lemon sign bought just the right amount of detail to the stage, without distracting you from the actual performance. I also loved the fact that the band were all wearing matching suits, gosh I’m a sucker for coordinated band looks.
‘Hey You’ prompted the entrance of the ladies with giant cat heads to prance and dance around the stage. A bit distracting and a bit pointless but hey its Angus’s creative space and we’re here to live in it for an hour. As Angus takes a seat he mentions something about ‘at some stage everyone in our lives…’ and then kind of just mumbles, but he begins playing ‘Fuck Things Up’, which you can then assume what the rest of his comment was.
‘Salt And Pepper’ is a seedy and sexy song, you can picture yourself in a cigar smoke filled room sitting on a velvet couch sipping on something straight and just being an absolute boss.
Of course the set ends with ‘Home Soon’ and it was the moment everyone decided they were sick of sitting on their bums and wanted to boogie with Angus and the band. The front of the room filled with everyone moving from the back and it was a friendly coming together for music. I was having such a good time that I almost forgot they hadn’t played ‘Uptown Folks’ yet, so I was pleasantly surprised that this song was how we will end our night. All the lemon and cat heads took the stage to dance along with Angus and I’ll never get sick of the drum beat in this song.
Dope Lemon keep you captivated and entranced into their world throughout their whole set. Although I found myself drifting at times, I was always focusing on a particular part of the band, and focused less on the story-telling and more on the music, which I think is pretty normal for a live performance. Angus Stone is the smoothest cat. With a killer stage set up and a fantastic set list, it was everything we expected from Dope Lemon and more.