LIVE REVIEW + GALLERY // Array (The Vanguard, Sydney)

WORDS AND IMAGES BY JADE GUIDA

Gigs are looking pretty different in 2020. Covid has all but wiped out the majority of the arts industry, the local music scene has taken a pretty hard hit with local venues having to adhere too strict distancing rules. For the last few months a lot of people have had some down time but Array have really used this time to capitalise, remarketed and come out with a new lineup and a stunning new sound. 

The Vanguard in Newtown is one of a few Venues really working hard to make Socially distanced gigs happen. They are holding two-sittings a night for events. Mapping out chairs and tables for patrons to socially distance, have a drink and enjoy a night of live music. 

I arrive at the Vanguard about an hour before the first set, I walk in to the Green Room to get some pre-show candids and the band is sitting around eating pizza and drinking Jameson.

The first set is about to begin and I follow the band down the staircase and sit in the tiny ass space just behind the stage. Stan Doyle the bands guitarist and lead vocalist is doing warm up drills, Thom Henderson (Drums) is taking his shoes off for the third time in 20minutes and tapping his drumsticks to the wall. Joel Kelett (Guitar and Electronics) and James Peppercorn (Bass) chat and drink while they wait. You wouldn’t be able to tell if they were nervous, or that they hadn’t played a live gig in months the energy pre-set is raw and real. The four have a quick band huddle, then one by one walk through the stage door.

I walk to the front of the stage to see a sold-out room bursting with anticipation, lots of very happy faces in the crowd. The band opens with ’The Sermon’, I can see quite a few people in the crowd singing along or bouncing their head, toes, shoulders- or anything they can wiggle free in their little bubble.  As the Set progresses I notice that a large majority of the crowd is singing along to the songs. As the set winds through what seems like a set of crowd favourites from ‘Wave Breaks’ to ‘ Memories’ to the closing tune of ‘People’ the crowd has lost itself, tunnelled down into a euphoria created by the night. It is quite a different feeling when everyone in a room is sitting down but Array has an exceptional ability to bring the full force of their music experience to the room. Doyle is a frontman with a gift for enthusiasm, with  his Micheal Hutchence-esque brazenness in his on stage mannerisms. Kelett seems to float around the stage more than walk, his movements are almost ethereal. Henderson on drums is a little bit of a dark horse. His drumming is tight and he is actually a little bit of a character back there, shoeless and charismatic in his own right. It is almost impossible to adequately describe James Peppercorn’s antics on stage. He is a bit of an enigma, a man overcome by the power of music and energy, he throws himself into every moment. 

It is quite an incredible thing to be a part of, watching a band explore such a broad range of musical styles. Array are an incredibly unique blend of alternative rock, electronic and if I’m not wrong there is a spritz of something almost orchestral in there as well. The set itself is quite a ride, the flow from one song to the next was beautifully executed with a seamless flow and each song fit together like perfectly formed puzzle pieces. Quick in between song banter as members tuned instruments kept the show feeling light and inviting, drawing the crowd in to the intimate setting.

With four incredibly talented musicians, they produced two high energy, technically sound stunning performances. 

This performance was like a glass of the Jameson Whiskey the band had before the show even started. Starting off bold and then there is an undeniable progression through to a smooth middle and ending on a delightfully sweet note. Every note during the set is clear, nothing overpowering, each song delivering a wave of emotions and creating a blissful taste in your mouth, that leaves you needing more. 

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