Live: Andy Bull @ Northcote Social Club – 22/10/13

After one too many articles focused on his unusually high voice, Andy Bull has decided he’s going to write his own reviews from now on. Throwing suggestions from the stage, he recommends I start with, “Andrew is very good looking and funny,” and continue by detailing his endless musical ability.Thanks kindly for the pointers, Andy. I’ll do my best.In the packed backroom of the Northcote Social Club, Andy Bull enamored the assembled masses with his signature brand of falsetto-driven, synth alt-pop.Earlier in the evening, the Lauper-esque stylings of Dune warmed up the stage. Sitting somewhere between Chairlift and Robyn, the 80s-inspired pop funk was a refreshing change from the standard opening fare at most other gigs. The drum-infused “Shoestring” urges you to groove along, while the slower “Oh Innocence” sets up like a summer anthem before diverging into something else altogether. With a bit more polishing, Dune could have widespread success in the future.At the last show on his national tour, the Sydney-based Andy Bull performed snippets from his anticipated forthcoming album, with his newest single “Baby I Am Nobody Now” — also the tour’s namesake — already word-perfect from the young audience. The new “Echo Of A Man” seems to hark back to the more acoustic Bull of yesteryear, digging deep with lyrics about the true measures of masculinity.“Keep On Running”, a single Bull released earlier this year, had us dancing along to its irresistible combination of catchy lyrics and even catchier synth.Not ignoring his 2010 EP Phantom Pains, he pulled out crowd favourite “Dog”, featuring Lisa Mitchell, with harmonies ably supplied by guitarist Alex Bennison. Bull also gave us “My Street”, recounting the story of his ex-girlfriend moving onto his street after he’d moved specifically to get away from her. The story may be unfortunate, but gosh, it makes for some good musical fodder.Andy Bull is genuinely endearing, even when giving us writer-folk a bit of a smack on the nose for focusing too heavily on the nature of his voice. He may hate all the attention, but his amazing vocal talents are what set him so far apart from all the other moustache-wearing, Surry Hills hipsters having a crack at the music game.  The highlight of the set was undoubtedly the impromptu cover of The Shins’ “New Slang”. No matter how many times Bull needed lyrical prompting from the audience, you can’t beat watching a great artist covering a modern classic.Bull is witty and musically diverse, with a willingness to spin a yarn between songs. Part of me wants to declare that Bull definitely is funny and good looking, but a better idea would be to tell you to go along, enjoy one of his performances and judge for Ashleigh McMillan

November 3rd 2013
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