On the back of a successful Australian summer, Set Mo, already a dancefloor favourite at home in Sydney, arrived with infectious energy to a dizzily committed fan base at Studio The Venue, where the deliciously hip duo, Nick Drabble and Stu Turner, offered the Friday night crowd an opportunity to lose themselves in a gloriously trippy disco of brilliantly happy beats.
Opening with their debut album title track and some fine lighting cues, the audience was captivated by tales of travel and discovery within minutes, with Set Mo taking us on a journey as if we were rolling, roof down, past hills along a coastal highway.
The technically beautiful “Bergamot” surrounds the Studio with a flurry of percussion and elegantly intertwined beats against birdsong, creating an intoxicatingly playful track wrapped in more layers than one could wear on a cool Auckland night.
Harmonies of urgency throughout “Fault Lines”, juxtaposed with the depth of its baseline, remind you of a certain dark place in time where everything felt a little heavy, while still offering a tangled toe tapping sense of hope.
Swiftly brought back into the light through ecstatic positivity, the upbeat “Communicate” is a track that brings out all those euphoric feelings of being kissed by your lover or hugged by your mother, frolicking freely in a field of daffodils drenched in sunshine, while a similar depth of emotion is evoked in “White Dress” and “Near”.
At times, the lads were accompanied by vocalists Chris Sebastian and Sayah, and while enjoying the variety within the set, it appeared that the performers lost personal connection on stage, sometimes falling a little flat, where as the moments left exclusively to Drabble and Turner fired with much more heat.
Unfortunately lost on young ears, there was a short lull towards the centre of the set where the thousand strong crowd started slipping away during “Counter Human Emotion”, one of their most technically layered and poetic tracks. An angelic soliloquy with a pulse pumping heartbeat.
But the young and buzzy crowd triumphantly reappeared during “Wish You Were Here”, perhaps the evenings hero track, a moment somewhat reminiscent of Odessza playing “Across the Room” at Brixton Academy back in February. With tracks like these Set Mo could certainly fill that South London dancefloor comfortably.
Set Mo’s lyrics include a monologue from Brian Eno, offering all ears to take the opportunity to lose themselves, “One of the things I want music to do is to offer people the chance to surrender”.
And surrender they did.