Long gone are the days of trading in trip-hop-influenced instrumentals designed to ably soundtrack bong rips; in their place now is a strain of Triple J-friendly, high-energy electronic dance music bolstered by a rotating roster of guest vocalists.
This night’s youthful crowd is proof Hermitude are still down with the kids almost 20 years into their career, as the group gives them a rowdy, festival-ready, senses-pummelling extravaganza with the lights set to “blinding” and the bass set to “involuntary bowel movements”.
Drawing heavily from recent album Pollyanarchy and its predecessor Dark Night Sweet Light, multi-instrumentalists El Gusto (Angus Stuart) and Luke Dubs (Luke Dubber) structure their performance like a high-octane DJ mix, creating a continuous cycle of synth squeals, trap beats and EDM drops that have booties shaking and hands raised high.
Several guests make welcome appearances: Melbourne singer Hoodlem slows the pace slightly on the sexy, R&B-infused highlight Every Day; elsewhere support act Haiku Hands reappears to spit infectious, bratty raps on Let it Burn.
It’s Brisbane singer Jaguar Jonze, however, who delivers one of the most memorable moments in a stunning new-wave cover of Heart-Shaped Box that hints at what Nirvana might’ve sounded like if Gary Numan had been Kurt Cobain’s biggest influence.
The relentless rapid tempo and roof-rattling bass give the sense that the songs are bleeding into one about 45 minutes into the show, but the airing of a few choice hits and the odd left-field surprise liven up the gig’s second half.
At one point there’s a cheeky snippet of The Lion Sleeps Tonight thrown into the mix and a well-received sample of Kanye West’s Power, but it’s the crowd-pleasing blend of Speak of the Devil and Chance the Rapper’s All Night that brings everything home, underlining that Hermitude know how to throw one hell of a party.