A last minute decision on Thursday saw me heading along to the third week of Dear Plastic’s January residency after 9 o’clock, knowing that they were set to go on around 10:30. As I rounded the corner onto Smith Street I saw the stage lights escaping from The Gasometer’s open roof and got a little bit excited about the prospect of feeling the night sky above me during Dear Plastic’s performance but, unfortunately, it closed pretty quickly after Sleep Decade finished their support set.

As Josh and Nathan played the opening notes of ‘Antimatter’, Danny and I exchanged a chuckle (he’d asked me during the break what they should open with, and obviously they’d taken my recommendation on board), while Scarlette, Danny and Cory held off a bit, stretching the intro out long enough for the people who had ventured upstairs to get down to the dance floor. Once they kicked into the opening verse, the synchronised bass and kick drum held the groove and got the crowd moving quickly while Scarlette apparently needed no warmup to hit those powerful high notes.

The driving bass synth of ‘Overwinter’ kicked in almost instantly, taking the set in a darker direction and Scarlette towards the lower end of her exceptional range for both it and album opener ‘Memo’. The set itself was quite varied, mostly taking from their brilliant debut album but also including a new song and ‘Physical/Chemical,’ the B-side from ‘Buck Up and Pay The Reaper’ which they claimed Cory picked because it has no drums. “We have a lazy drummer.” Scarlette quips before the digital beats kick in.

The band have a wonderful relationship with their fans and they kept things extremely relaxed between songs. Scarlette thanked the crowd for coming out and “getting introspective” but for the most part, avoided forced banter. After switching up the usual closing order, playing ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ before finishing with ‘Buck Up and Pay The Reaper’, some folks down the front casually asked for an encore which, while seemingly taken off guard, they delivered with the energetic ‘Bell Jar.’

Dear Plastic continue to prove themselves in a live setting, and their presence is as much to do with their appeal as the music. Whether it’s watching Josh play keyboards one handed while taking cables out of his mouth and carefully plotting them in his modular synth, admiring Nathan and Danny’s simultaneous stoicism or being hypnotised by Scarlette’s emphatic, borderline interpretive, dancing, they continue to be visually engaging as a band, regardless of any lighting effects. This while blending the varied styles of their influences into some truly dark and brooding pop music (which they perform with the accuracy of a more experienced band) is why I’m sure I’ll never get enough, and why I’ll continue to direct people to go see them play or pick up an album, both of which I’m doing to you. Right now.

Wes Fahey

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