Cub Sport @ The Brightside, 10th November
It’s the 10th of November. It’s a Thursday. Its the day our indie-pop cutie patooties, Cub Sport return back to the homeland to deliver the dreamiest slice of synth soaked pop to a sold-out collection of Brisbanites. After my roommate buys her last minute ticket off a 10/10 legend, we weave our way to the front of The Brightside’s stage through a myriad of people mostly clad in Cub Sport merch, the odd floral shirt sticking out like a sore thumb. I’ve been a bit on the fence of first support, Amy Shark since she first emerged from the musical trenches, so I was excited to see if her live performance would sway me. Shark is a tiny pocket rocket but her stage presence has a sense of repose to it, showing punters she’s a seasoned performer, armed and ready for her just flourishing career. Set highlight was an unreleased acoustic song with heavy emotionality to it; she plays with rigour, cutting through the frustrating chattering crowd.
Before the main meal is served, we are treated to another entree of musical downright goodness; the ever rockin’ Sydneysider, Bec Sandrigde. The lady of the hour and her band members file out onto the stage, kicking straight into their succinct pop-punk sound with a powerful deliverance and moves that can only be described as an interpretive dancer’s version of a side-to-side head bang. Sandridge mentions that this is the first time they’ve all played together and I am astounded; it sounds like they have been playing together for years. Her band is tight, expertly bouncing off each other, but all eyes are mesmerised by Sandridge’s performance; her incredible, almost bird-song like vocals thankfully get the crowd to cease their private conversations and boogie to the music. The crowd is amped, Sandridge and co having done above and beyond what a support band is there to do, making the audience come alive.
The lights dim, Real Friends by Kanye booms, girls begin screaming, the crowd is buzzing; Cub Sport emerge from the velvet curtains. I Can’t Save You is almost inaudible over the thunderous crowd, feeding off the band, repeating back every single lyric and the guitar hook’s melody. Their stage presence rehearsed and modest, their vocal harmonies insanely captivating and their fans absolutely devoted. Every time I see Tim Nelson sing, I am never unsurprised at his unbelievably expansive and effortless vocal range. Sporting a Selena Gomez shirt, front and centre is where he is destined to be; the crowd ecstatic when he hits the phenomenal high notes, cementing his heart throb status. After falling a little bit flat in Sun, the band immediately picks it straight back up tenfold with I’m On Fire and a seamless cover of Talking Heads hit This Must Be The Place. After shouting out to the girl in the back with a Cub Scouts shirt on, old fans are treated to a clean cut rendition of Told You So, where Sam Netterfield’s carouseling synth hooks are an admirable stand out. As soon as the words “Like A Version” are uttered the crowd is uncontainable. This version of Ultralight Beam is on a whole new par; the ethereal harmonies, guitarist Zoe Davis’ shredding guitar solo, everyone singing with their arms raised like we are repenting our sins in church, finished with a stampeding chorus of raucous foot-stomps. Everyones on a high from hearing the best live cover in my 21 years, Come On Mess Me Up is felt so strongly by the crowd, collectively holding onto every second, filling the room with tidal waves of emotion. They are, of course, called out to an encore to play Evie, a tune that provides a fun, undeniably cute and lighthearted contrast, with a solid back beat and spirited guitar.
As I am leaving the sauna of happiness the Brightside has been transformed into, I find myself thinking of one word: humble. You could tell in their performance they were so humbled to be playing at home, humbled to be doing what they love, humbled by their devoted fans and I am equally as humbled to have experienced this night.