Hands up who’s been to a “real” gig at an actual venue in the last six/seven months. A few of you reading this might have been lucky, but I bet the majority will be in the “yeah nah” group.
There’s no doubt the live performance sector has been forced to pivot to the online world to survive, also in Australia. And it’s high time we started approaching those virtual shows like a normal thing to do. That’s why I took the liberty to briefly review Cosmo’s Midnight live-stream from 8 October 2020 as if it was just a regular show.
PART 55 OF “AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN?” A RANDOM COLLECTION OF UNKNOWINGLY OBVIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC SCENE.
The number of live-streamed gigs I’ve watched since the pandemic started is far greater than the total number of virtual events I’d ever seen before March 2020. I’m pretty sure you’re the same. Especially in the first weeks, I was madly switching from one platform to another, trying to keep up with all the artists and events I follow (mission impossible, naturally).
It was fun at first, but I got disinterested after a while. I reckon my brain just became oversaturated with so much virtual stimulus.
But one thing has to be acknowledged. Switching to virtual performances is a mammoth task that was embraced fairly quickly and successfully in the music business Down Under, all things considered. Both artists and event organisers have gone above and beyond to keep viewers engaged and glued to the screens. As a result, fans are much more picky and spoiled right now. So am I.
Coincidentally, when I was prepping to write this post, Cosmo’s Midnight announced a live-stream. And since I’d never had a chance to catch them live back in the day, I was curious to find out what their gigs are like. Even the virtual ones.
If the name Cosmo’s Midnight doesn’t ring a bell, I’m pretty sure it will from now on.
Electronic music experts from Sydney, twin brothers Cosmo and Patrick Liney are the backbone of the band that has been around since 2012. In those 8 years, their music has already appeared on KEXP radio (Seattle, US) programming and a Ministry of Sound (London UK) compilation.
They’ve also remixed one of Flume’s tracks, played at Spilt Milk and Listen Out (Australian festivals), collaborated with heaps of other DJs/producers Down Under and overseas, signed to Sony Music Australia and released a bunch of singles, EPs and two albums.
See why I was keen on checking them out live? So here’s what went down at the virtual gig.
“So good to be performing again, even if it’s not in front of people” were one of the first words from the band. And I’m pretty sure they summarise every artist’s feelings right now. Because not everyone gets this opportunity.
The sunset gig was staged to celebrate the release of Cosmo’s Midnight sophomore record, Yesteryear, shared with the world only on 2 October 2020. And I have to say it was the right place and the right time to promote the album.
Firstly, the live-stream was free and open to everyone. There was no support, either, so we could dive into the essence without delay.
Although it was pre-recorded, they nailed it by live-streaming it on a Thursday evening. Having the sun set on Sydney in the backdrop, with the views over the city and the Harbour Bridge occasionally, were simply awesome, too. And if you add the band’s dancy beats and the many bangers they have in store, all the pre-weekend vibes were instantly ticked off. The only thing missing was the sound of clicking glasses.
From YouTube’s reactions (where I was watching) you could tell the audience loved it. The comment section was literally on fire with praises coming in from all directions. Fans from Indonesia, Japan, Poland or Turkey checked in. And there was a particularly strong following from Spanish-speaking countries (a tip for the duo where they should direct their attention perhaps).
Since the gig was pre-recorded, the quality and production were tops. But good banter, sincere LOLs and a casual atmosphere ruled the show overall. Even though the songs were performed in the order they appear on the record, the band threw in a good mix of guests and other surprises to make it engaging. And there were a few highlights.
Matthew Young, who features on “It’s Love”, couldn’t make it from New Zealand due to the Rona restrictions, so they played his part from the track. Stevan performed “Ice” with the band for the first time ever. Ruel (that all internet groupies were impatiently waiting on to perform “Down For You”) hugged it out with the brothers*. The orange hat was getting a lot of love from the fans. Honne, whose song Cosmo’s Midnight remixed, tuned in virtually from London. Winston Surfshirt had apparently just had a baby girl shortly before shooting the video but still showed up to perform. Some soothing lemon-and-ginger tea was spilt.
As the pretty sunset was gradually turning into a beautiful night sky over Sydney, good times were had by all: those performing and those watching the performance (digitally or not). I – as a viewer – appreciated that outcome the most. It really did feel like a heaps-good, entertaining 1-hour festival set that went by way too quickly. I might have even tapped my feet on the floor and shaken those hips with the band 🙂
It’s clear that virtual shows will never substitute the “real” experience. Mostly because that unique “there and then” moment, experienced in the crowd and with the crowd, cannot be replicated under any other circumstances. The possibility of editing things out before publishing the video makes it a little less authentic, too. And it’s a shame the band can’t see the punters’ reactions and engage with them accordingly (although there must have been a small audience at the recording – you could hear their cheers and claps sometimes).
Sadly, it’s going to be a longer while before live gigs and festivals with audiences can be staged all over Australia again, without jeopardizing anybody’s health, safety and well-being. So this IS our “reality” right now, whether we like it or not. And I greatly respect all acts who have embraced it and are really trying hard to stay connected with their fans in other (available) ways.
So, to answer your question, Cosmo’s Midnight: Yes, I.C.D.I. (I can dig it).
On a side note, kudos to the event crew who posted the show’s start times on FB for various time zones, so people wouldn’t have to frankly look for them. It doesn’t happen too often but helps to ensure that fans are tuning in, I reckon. If I could suggest something here, though, it would be to include continental Europe’s (i.e. Berlin’s) timings, too.
*In case you’re wondering about the health restrictions, I’m fairly sure everybody was COVID-tested before the recording.
Watch the entire set here:
Cosmo’s Midnight & Guests
Yesteryear Album Live Set Performance
Pre-recorded on High Garden Sydney Rooftop
Live-streamed on YouTube on 8 October 2020
Guests (in alphabetical order):
HONNE, Ruel, SAYAH, Stevan & Winston Surfshirt
Set list (all songs from Yesteryear except the last three)
- It’s Love (feat. Matthew Young)
- Have It All
- Ice (with Stevan)
- A Million Times
- Down for You (with Ruel)
- Time Wasted
- C.U.D.I. (Can You Dig It)
- We Could Last Forever
- no song without you (with HONNE)
- Get To Know (with Winston Surfshirt)
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