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Parcels' show at 170 Russell was more than a gig, it was an epic party

The Berlin-based quintet threw a huge party.

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Image source: 
Dan Soderstrom

On a hot summer’s night, Parcels took their self-titled debut album tour to Melbourne’s 170 Russell for the first of two sold-out shows. With only minutes until the band took the stage, the line of punters was still out the door. Once inside, there was no warm-up necessary, the crowd was already in full swing.

As this was the first night of the Melbourne leg, it was likely we were amongst major fans. The crowd spilt into every corner, making it dangerous business to leave your spot to get a drink or take review notes on your phone - no one spying will understand the context of “harmonies galore” etched into my tech notepad for the evening.

With Parcels announcing the tour back in July, the anticipation across the venue was high. Announcing shows so far in advance can either facilitate enthusiasm, or kill it. In this case, it did the former as the crowd was rowdy despite the Monday night booking - each time a song took an instrumental break, the crowd roared a little louder.

 
 
 
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A post shared by MATT (@mattmcguffiee) on Jan 15, 2019 at 3:13am PST

Parcels maintain a very strong brand of '70s aesthetic and the show did not fall short of that. The backdrop was a glittery sheet with a light show of bright colours. In the foreground were five members sporting their long hair that bounced in unison as they moved together. The '70s vibe was even reflected in the audience - there were plenty of flared jeans bopping around while there were also some older punters spotted in the crowd, nostalgic for the music of their youth.

The band was a well-oiled machine as every song perfectly blended into the next - if the band didn’t stop between songs it would be almost impossible to recognise when the next song had started. Whether coincidentally or on purpose, their song names bear the same theme - each title is all one word, such as ‘Tieduprightnow’, ‘Lightenup’ and ‘Withorwithout’. A consistent approach to music can be a risky game to play as it can quickly sound repetitive. Nevertheless, this live show, otherwise known as a huge dance party, necessitated that constant sound. If flow makes people move, why mess with the formula?

 
 
 
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Their self-titled album's lead single ‘Tieduprightnow’ was a standout. As guitarist Jules Crommelin shook his hips, the velocity of his swaying torso reflected his quick strumming - it was quite a feat. By this stage, punters were on shoulders, swaying, dancing and hugging away to the extravaganza.

Mastering the art of a fake encore, a reprisal of their album's opening song, ‘Comedown’, chimed across the room only for each member to enter, bow and depart once more. It was a sweet end to what wasn't just a gig but a show, a euphoric experience, a venture into true exuberance and showmanship.

Highlight: The never-faltering energy in the room.

Lowlight: Unsolicited third-wheeling from the couple standing too close to me.

Crowd Favourite: ‘Tieduprightnow’ - that’s also the only song I can definitively say they played.