Irrespective of their time away from the musical spotlight, The Presets will always have a place in the hearts of the Australian dance music community. And despite the best efforts of some members of the crowd to dampen the nights of others in attendance, the two-piece definitely crushed the Sydney leg of their Hi-Viz album tour.
Playing directly before The Presets was electronic act Roland Tings. As an excessively casual listener of the act, I knew nothing in his set, but was more than pleased with what he was putting out. With the Enmore Theatre crowd turning up early on a cold June night, Roland Tings delivered a near faultless set that left even the man himself near speechless at the conclusion of his 30 minute set.
I’ve probably been to the Enmore Theatre 25 times to see bands, and despite definitely seeing bands in a sold out capacity before at the venue, it seemed as though the room was the fullest it had ever been. With barely enough room to swing a cat, the continual surge of punters as The Presets hit the stage was actually getting ridiculous.
Opening with certified banger “Talk Like That”, this was a masterstroke from the two piece, as it got the crowd instantly moving and removed any of that awkward ‘this is a new one’ chat that tends to happen when a band tours a recently released album. While the band definitely did their best to fill the set with hits, the inevitable appearance of new album tracks took its toll on the set. While the singles from Hi-Viz were received exceptionally well, from the churning dance-floor-after-midnight banger “Do What You Want”, to the African dance vibes of “Downtown Shutdown”, and the 2018 “My People” clone in “14U+14ME”, the response to other new material was lukewarm and only left the set in a holding pattern. And in total fairness to the band, their new album was only released two weeks ago, so it’d be unfair of me to expect everyone in the room to know the songs.
One thing I do expect though, at any gig, is common decency between gig goers. Too many times have I been to shows where someone’s drunken or drug affected actions have not only left themselves in a state, but ultimately left everyone in their near vicinity with a tainted experience of the night. And I get it. The Presets are a dance act. Having a good, expressive time goes hand-in-hand with dance music. It doesn’t, however, justify the actions of people who knowingly go out of their way to ruin other people’s nights.
In the current age and dialogue around consent and the #metoo movements, I, along with at least five other people within a two metre radius of me, were either felt up or had their drinks spilt by what I’m going to assume was a drunken/ drugged up woman pinging within an inch of her life. As a straight, white male, I’ve definitely got things easier on a night out than others do. After being on the end of non-wanted or warranted advances by someone who seemingly didn’t give a shit about what they were doing, it’s truly beyond belief that woman have to deal with this shit just about every time they go out. Again, it’s not the band’s fault, but it needs to stop.
As for the set itself, if they’d played just the bangers and hits, it would have been an unforgettable set. The aforementioned Hi-Viz singles show The Presets are still at the top of their game, and all the older classics haven’t aged at all. The quartet run of tracks in the shape of “This Boy’s In Love”, “I Go Hard, I Go Home”, “Youth In Trouble” and “My People” was 15 minutes of pure bliss. The light show from the band was up their with some of the best I’ve seen, as “My People” gave the people what they wanted and was the peak of the 90 minute set. For a song that changed the face of Australian dance music, its performance at the Enmore rightfully justifies its place as one of the most ground-breaking Australian songs ever.
Negative experiences aside, The Presets’ Sydney show allowed the band to re-enter the ears en masse in a massive way, and more than cements their place as one of the best party starters in the country.
The reviewer attended this show on June 23rd.