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FRONT ROW | SAATSUMA @ NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB

On the back of their eagerly anticipated debut album Overflow, Melbourne’s Saatsuma took to the stage of Northcote Social Club for an outstanding performance that not only showed off the album in its best possible light, but gave fans a night to well and truly remember.

If one thing has to be said about Melbourne’s Squidgenini it’s that her voice is quite simply amazing. Her set may have had some faults, with an over reliance on a backing track, and weak stage presence, but her material was beautiful, standing out with ease against the murmurs in the room. No familiarity with her material was needed, with each track standing strong, capturing the attention of those present. It was almost excessively minimalist in its performance nature, but that comes with size and experience, and given what we heard at this show it seems likely we’ll here more of Squidgenini in the near future.

Over the past two years Saatsuma have impressed fans, with the snippets of recorded material sounding outstanding, and the live shows often memorable past knowledge. As would be expected launching their debut album, and for their biggest headline show to date, Saatsuma really pulled out something special for this show, making sure that it was memorable long past the final moments. The show played out all the album tracks, each gaining a new energy when performed with the fully fleshed out five piece band, but it was the small quirks of the set that made it so fun. From watching Maddy Kelly walking on stage banana in hand (over the course of the set this banana was slowly consumed between backing vocal duties) to Memphis’ charming conversation with the audience, it was hard not to have a smile on your face. In fact, it was this sister pair who often stole the show, with their coordinated dance moves being the second most unexpected part of the performance, breaking down the rather mellow material that Saatsuma specialise in. The biggest surprise, and highlight of the night was the use of Kelis’ iconic Milkshake as an intro to a track early on.

The album material sounded stunning live, however, with the rich texturing of Intro sounding better than ever with the full band behind it. Crescent and Isolate kept the bodies moving through the performance with ease. It was the extended track Without U Again that closed the night off, and earned the biggest response. All up, it was an stunning show, that turned an album that is best enjoyed alone into something that could be enjoyed within a community. A feat that few can manage with ease. Saatsuma are one of the more exciting bands floating through the industry at the moment, and definitely one that deserves a listen.

 

Ayden Measham-Pywell

Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast