LIVE MUSIC REVIEW: OPIOU
The first time I got to experience Opiuo’s live show was at Rainbow Serpent Festival in 2012. Unaware that I was about to witness one of the most mind-blowing live sets I’ve ever seen, I followed my friend down to the stage he was playing at. The sound of Opiuo’s signature whopping bass struck me like lightning. The deep, dark beat was incredibly satisfying. I’d never heard glitch-hop before and it completely changed my perspective on dance music.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I was able to see Opiuo again five years later, at 170 Russell on Friday the 21st of April. As Opiuo is a Melbourne local, the show was handled with a familiar affection. From playing huge music festivals over the world, the intimacy of the venue made the show all the more special. As soon as I entered the venue, I could feel the crowd vibrating excitedly in anticipation. There was only good vibes between fans that wanted to lose themselves to the groove.
As Opiuo came on stage with his band, colourful lasers lit up the room, accompanied by a roar from the dance floor. The light show was an incredible edition to the performance. Green lasers illuminated the crowd, flashing between purple and blue in time with the music. It takes an enormous effort to choreograph the lasers and the live instruments, especially as every song is interwoven seamlessly into the next.
I’m standing up the back, observing as the crowd bounces wildly to the funk, yet the rhythm keeps control of the movement. Opiuo takes the lead by beating the drum pad with vigorous spirit. The energetic combination of guitar, keys and samples creates a funkadelic symphony that compliments the soulful female vocalist. Although she isn’t on stage for all of the show, her powerful voice in ‘Kurdilly Boof’ was especially memorable.
The evolution of Opiuo’s music is evident when he drops ‘Robo Booty.’ It’s a flashback to his first album, Slurp and Giggle, which he made himself on his Macbook Pro. In true Opiuo style, he served up a delicious rendition that was just as tasty as the first time I heard it in 2012.
‘Jelly’ is my favourite off his newest album, Omniversal. The combination of a saxophone against the wobble of heavy bass is telling of Opiuo’s genius, and it’s even better with a live saxophone. The creeping melody made me dance like I was Godzilla crushing a city underneath me. When it comes to Opiuo; I tend to get very creative with my dance moves. Most of the time I appear like I’m having a rhythmic tantrum. I was shoulder to shoulder with punters who were throwing their limbs around in pure elation. It was just a whole lot of fun.
‘Sneakers’ is the track I wasn’t so sure about on Omniversal, yet it ended up being one of the highlights of the show for me. The slower tempo was refreshing as it was the closest I got to a break from dancing. I had brought a friend to the gig who had never heard of Opiuo before, and ‘Sneakers’ was the point she turned to me and beamed “this is sick!”
Opiuo’s shows are the kind of party anyone can enjoy, whether you know the songs or not. It’s obvious that he loves what he does; his enthusiasm for music is reflected in the adoration of his fans and the energy of the room. It’s truly really inspiring to see an artist put in so much effort into a live show and deliver a performance that is remarkably original.
Opiuo continues to be one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. He’s continuing his Australian tour before heading off to play some off the biggest festivals in the US and Canada. I’m super keen to get down at another one of his shows soon, hopefully it’s not going to take me 5 years next time.
Words and featured image by Katie Wardley.