Photos by LP
The rain poured down in torrential sheets, causing a clamor in their descent that was simultaneously cacophonous and serene. The streets overflowed, filled to the brim with water, while the sense of dereliction in Midtown became palpable, as the activity in the area drew to a stand-still – devoid of bustle amidst the coming of the rain as well as the Miami Heat game. The resolve of all but a few concert goers had been dampened, as they descended in small groups to Bardot, livid with anticipation to see talented Australian electro/dance rock three-piece, Art vs. Science.
The Sydney-based band are purveyors of a sound that is in every way indicative of the warped, reverberating electro of Justice, while infusing the rebellious, yet playful energy of punk into their sound – smothering the result with textural guitar riffing. The crowd was slow to trickle in, as the rain and the game delayed the start of the show to the cusp of 1 AM, as the members of the band greeted their fans personally, prior to the show, engaging them in conversation whenever possible – an act that represented an affirmed respite to the sense of impersonality with which some performers interact with their fans.
As soon as they stepped onto the carpet and picked up their instruments, donning shiny silver jumpsuits, reminiscent of something out of Powerman 5000’s video for the song “When Worlds Collide,” the boisterous Aussies introduced themselves with resolved enthusiasm, immediately jumping into the track “Friend in the Field.” They energetically generated billowing synth-infused soundscapes buttressed at every end by a ferocious rhythm section and towering guitar solos that congealed into the music with a rare sense of refined grace.
Every instrument was played live, every sound emanating from the carpet produced in real time – a rarity of sorts; especially given the growing reliance electronic acts have developed with regard to the implementation of prerecorded sounds and backing tracks. Lead singer Dan Mac accompanied band mate and backing vocalist Jim Finn on keys as they swayed and stomped, laying down their vocals atop the mellifluous noise. The energetic set hit its apex as the chords to “Parlez Vous Francais?” reverberated through the entirety of the room.
Mac raised a pint of beer triumphantly in one hand, chugging it entirely while unleashing part of an extended solo with the other. They transitioned into a strikingly funny and playful ode to gay bars when they covered Electric Six’s aptly entitled “Gay Bar,” generating some laughs in the process, as Mac’s over-the-top delivery melded completely with the decidedly comedic verses of the songs. The trio is especially adept when it comes to translating and intensifying the unbridled calamity discernible in their recorded output into the live performances.
It seems as though the their stage show is the culmination of those endeavors and it only became more evident in the way in which Mac and company can seamlessly transition from their more down tempo tracks, such as “We Create the World,” to the decidedly raucous bangers “Flippers” and “Hollywood.” Mac hyped the crowd to the best of his ability, belting out a high falsetto to open up “Flippers,” then imploring various men in the audience to match him on the microphone, as he approached them one by one.
It was refreshing to see such inspired exuberance, even in spite of the rain and the basketball game stymying the turnout to an extent. Art vs. Science proved to be a group that brings every bit of their passion and joy for playing their songs alongside one another to their performances – and not only did it show, it carried over to everyone in attendance.