Auckland’s LEISURE brought their polished pop grooves to San Fran in a performance as swish as it was sensual.
Playing in the capital on the second stop of their New Zealand/Australia tour, the six-piece performed material from their brand new album Twister as well as their 2016 self-titled debut.
Wellington’s own Lord Echo opened the night with a joyous DJ mix of dub, afro-Latin, and disco. Wonderfully eclectic and fun, it was a treat to hear the local producer take the dance-floor on a journey through the music of the world while keeping an unmistakably kiwi flavour, helped along by several of his own lush foot-stepping delights.
LEISURE’s refined and contemporary production was skillfully brought to life: mixing indie-rock templates with pop and disco sensibilities alongside a breathy psychedelic edge, making for songs both tightly crafted and cruisy.
Soon after LEISURE emerged, greeting the crowd with a grand synth build that dropped into the catchy funk of On My Mind. From there the performance was a smooth progression from one boogie inducing tune to the next. LEISURE’s refined and contemporary production was skillfully brought to life: mixing indie-rock templates with pop and disco sensibilities alongside a breathy psychedelic edge, making for songs both tightly crafted and cruisy.
Most tracks were based on a simple but infectious groove between the drums and bass that was then slickly embellished with sparing guitar plucks, spacey synths, and dreamy vocals. The slow pulse of Falling showed this recipe at its best, guitar and synth lines spiralling to swallow the crowd in a luxurious ooze. Generous amounts of reverb and delay gave tracks a shimmering depth, though things never drifted too far to lose a dance-floor appeal. Vocals were well used here: instead of shifting rhythmic or tonal foundations, four of the members traded roles of lead and harmony to keep a dynamic song structure that never sacrificed the vibe.
This formula wasn’t hard to hear repeated throughout the set, though LEISURE consistently pulled it off with lots of flash and plenty of fun. The packed-out San Fran offered no resistance: bobbing to the lowdown bass riff and synthy serenade of S.L.Y, meeting the sleek and simmering Hot Love head-on, and bouncing gleefully on the exuberant disco roller Take It To The Top. Trendy alternative-pop acts such as Mark Ronson and Tame Impala come to mind with the hazy summer bliss that these songs evoke, where days blur between beach trips, lovers episodes, and jaunts to the 80s night-club.
Coming out for an encore, the group performed the sensuous and heady All Over You. The refrain “I don’t really wanna think about the rest of our lives” sounding all too tempting after what can only be called an evening of leisurely indulgence.