Confidence Man at Northcote Social Club
23rd April 2017
Sunday night was number two of three sold-out Melbourne shows for Brisbane’s Confidence Man, before heading off on their first European tour and appearances scheduled at Glastonbury and Splendour in the Grass.
Taking the stage to a crowd already sweating with anticipation, Reggie Goodchild and Clarence MacGuffie, on keys and drums respectively, appeared in head-to-toe black and beekeeper veils to start the party with some off-beat gimmicky goodness.
Hard to say for certain what the gimmick is, but contrast was key here. After the crowd had warmed up, Sugar Bones and Janet Planet appeared wearing skimp-ified versions of a pope’s clothing and a christening dress; shorty shorts and fishnets included. Their expressions were deadpan and their lyrics were sassy quips you wouldn’t want to be at the receiving end of:
“you better shape up boy/ you better earn your keep/ oh, you speak French? / yeah, that’s neat.”
Occasionally during the set, backup dancers dressed in gimp suits and more black beekeeper veils accompanied the band in their synchronized disco-dancing. The audience followed along enthusiastically to what is becoming a significant drawcard for a Confidence Man show. They certainly put the ‘fun’ in ‘funeral.’
Confidence Man’s Hard Candy tour is cleverly named, not for the visions of narcotics it drums up, but for the sugar and spice dynamics between the two singers. Sugar’s voice is deep and droning, whereas Janet delivers sweetly robotic lines (with batted eyelids)
“I was sleeping with your ex/ I never would have guessed he would get obsessed/ I was surprised!”
She’s the mean girl at school you want to be more than you want to hate. They popped a bottle of champagne mid-set, shared a quick glass each, then gave it to the audience. All with an enviable effortlessness.
The audience were a slave to all things disco; inhibitions were at an all-time low and people confidently moved excessively to their unique brand of disco-goth electronic-pop. Confidence Man’s only two released tracks, Bubblegum and Boyfriend (Repeat), essentially bookended the set. When the band walked off for a quick breather, two fans got up in their place and threw shapes like nobody’s business. In the green room after the show, the band remarked that it was the best crowd yet.
Words by Tianna Harris
Photography by Lewis Nixon