Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers of Australia’s Gypsy And The Cat approach the stage like little boys. Dimly lit and drenched in red hues, the Slipper Room is decadently beautiful, with wooden tables scattered below the stage and a small balcony looking on from above. It’s an intimate space—very different from the ones the band is used to back home. Since its debut album, Gilgamesh, in 2010, the pair’s swoon-inducing tracks have become summer anthems Down Under, and for the first time, Gypsy And The Cat are touring their dreamy chilled-out mesh of sounds in the U.S. For the former DJs, their garage space in Melbourne is a world away. Nevertheless, the place is pretty crowded.
Opening with the bouncy track “Bloom” off of their sophomore album, The Late Blue, they exude a summery vibe, which seems strange since Bacash stands at the front of the stage in a sweater and beanie and is soon complaining about the cold weather. The track begins with driving drums and a murky bassline before divine harmonies float in and Bacash asks, “Will it ever be the same again?” Through catchy guitar riffs and a pant-pant-pant of exertion over the top, it oozes an ’80s retro vibe reminiscent of the Cure’s Wish.
Overflowing with liquid synths, the next offering, “It’s A Fine Line,” rides in on soft percussion that’s quickly met with muddled vocals and a drawn-out, “Those people, those faces/Deep in the night.” Suddenly the lights change to warm, beachy hues of yellow and blue as though sun-touched waves are crashing against the stage. Bacash announces, “This is ‘Jona Vark,’” and is surprised by the crowds cheers.
Things get a bit reflective as the band plays “Time To Wander,” a meditative song based on Bacash’s journey to India. Bacash ditches his guitar, gripping the mic, and as the lyrics start to roll into one, he begins jumping around on stage. “Human Desire” brings back the ebb and flow with a throbbing bass and falsetto vocals that spring between the room’s walls. The dreamscape ballad “Broken Kites” is a colorful breather of a song, with its soft vocal harmonies and reverb-heavy backdrop. As Bacash sings, “Do you feel like a broken kite/ Waiting for the wind to come alive?” the pink and blue stage lights blend as though replicating an undisturbed Australian horizon. It’s dreamy, like a hazy, lazy summer day.
“’Zombie World,’” Bacash declares, “is about dreaming crazy, crazy shit.” With a slapping bass, it bursts with energy, digitized and robotic. He has a get-up-and-go attitude and on “Running Romeo” and invites the crowd to join in for a communal “On-Whoa-Oh-Oh.” Gypsy And The Cat’s newest single, “Sorry,” closes the set. The track simmers with clattering percussion and raspy vocals that make it cosmically catchy and just plain irresistible.