I’d never been to 170 Russell before, but then again I’m new to Melbourne. The warm purple and blue lighting that shone from the stage between sets mixed with the luimincent turquoise table railings that were set staggered, like some futuristic terraced amphitheatre. SŸDE kicked things off, the duo bringing energy into the room with Orbit and their newer track Follow Me.
The crowd was building as ALTA took to the stage, and the pair ripped out a genre-bending and flavour blending set, filled with songs that filled the dancefloor like Fix It and newer bangers like Hold Your Fire and Figured Out, with seamless transitions between songs and soulful dancing, on the stage and in the crowd.
There was a tense and bubbling silence as the lights dimmed, but this turned into shouts and screams as Running Touch took to stage. It was the sold-out event that the Melbourne local deserved, and as he began to move, dance and sing his way across the stage, he acted like some sort of energy amplifier – every step, every sway; planned, prepared and executed to blast life into the audience.
He roared, he sang, he played guitar, electronic drums, at one stage he was wearing a welders mask.
There was a black gash across his eyes akin to a black-metal headliner, the drummer and bass player (his brothers in arms, Dale Tanner and Sam Bassal of Ocean Grove) came to the stage in Northlane-esque masks and balaclavas. The lights danced along with the men on stage, and screens surrounding the crowd flashed curated footage, mysterious and distracting as the storm of lights, sounds and movement spin around the stage.
All the hits were showcased: Equalizer, Levitate, Lovely all sending the crowd into hysterics before showcasing two new songs, one made with Hayden James, that brought the room to a steamy, sauna style of movement and humidity – the lights lit the steaming air as Running Touch left the stage – no semblance of not returning for an encore, the lights still spun and music still played.
The crowd cheered and worked themselves up to a peak frenzy in anticipation before he returned to give them My Hands, the people were up on shoulders in a teeming, dancing mass. It was truly an electronic-fusion set, with bass, live drums, guitars, but all mixed perfectly with the energy and intricacies of the visionary’s unique style.