A gig is exactly the place to determine who categorises themselves as what; some gravitate towards the front and centre, eager to snag the best view, others shift to the sides to simply stand and enjoy, some ensure there’s room to move.
Though despite the above it seemed every single audience member happened to be ‘room to move’ inclined; even half an hour before Confidence Man took the stage the crowd felt electric, never still, vibrating.
But took the stage Confidence Man eventually did, ‘Apache (Jump On It)’ by The Sugarhill Gang their entrance backing track. Masked by veils, as always, drummer and keyboardist Reggie Goodchild and Clarence McGuffie were the first to surface, soon followed by vocalists Sugar Bones and Janet Planet, both dressed minimally, both in white.
Their second single ‘Bubblegum’ was surrendered early, sugary sweet as its name suggests. Fans chanted the “Ooh, ees!” of the chorus without being prompted, like synchronised routine, minus any sense of monotony.
Sugar sculled the contents from a beer can before pacing in preparation for the next track; he and Janet reminded me of yoga instructors while warming up, stretching, all eyes on them, bodies mimicking their movements.
I remember hearing ‘Fascination’ at their last Brisbane performance, and quietly filing the unknown song away as an instant favourite. That was six months ago, but even still, I remembered the exact choreography, each singer leaning from side to side during the chorus.
‘Better Sit Down Boy’ came next, one of the most fast-paced of the pack; it was aptly (a little ironically) followed by ‘Catch My Breath’, a vocal-free duet between Reggie and Clarence.
The front man and woman re-emerged donning sunglasses, Janet recited the conversational lyrics to ‘C.O.O.L Party’. I’ll admit, it originally took time for the track to grow on me, but now, the hilarity of songwriting such as “It’s the party of the year, and I know because I’ve been to heaps of parties,” has proven unparalleled.
‘All The Way''s keyboard riff towards the end was a favourite.
They rounded it out with some more faves and even squeezed in another costume change for 'Don't You Know I'm In A Band' before the “get down!” drop in 'Boyfriend (Repeat).
An encore felt well-deserved and I was relieved it included ‘Out The Window’; the recent single is perhaps the most melodic of the pack, it reminds me of uplifting, '80s ballads. “Thank you Brisbane, you are f***ing awesome,” Janet praised, the four-pieced bowing before walking off stage.
“You have got to see them live,” may be an overused statement though with Confidence Man, there is undeniable truth in the comment. The outlandish outfits, synchronised dancing and unwaveringly stoic expressions are cheese to the band’s crackers, transforming their gigs into full-blown productions.
In saying that, it’s very wrong to presume Confidence Man are relying on entertaining performance values to sell tickets and attract an avid fan base. While it may have been the latter that initially drew the Australian music scene’s eye, it was their brilliant sense of humour that maintained their listeners’ attention, and now, credit’s due to their music.
Their debut album ‘Confident Music For Confident People’ is five stars from start to finish, lyrically brimming with cheek and vulgarity but boasting stellar instrumental and production values, as well. For four musicians who’ll happily admit they know ‘very little about electronic dance music’, these ‘amateurs’ have capably pieced together a collection of songs that would bring even the most stubborn, anti-dancer to their feet.
What’s interesting, however, is that their music isn’t solely about encouraging people to move, to ‘get down’. It’s a shining beacon of hope for those with two left feet, a reminder that listeners needn’t be concerned about what others think, a prompt for people to embrace their traits, however weird or wonderful, and it’s a confidence boost, for (despite the album title) even not-so confident people.
So, whatever dance category you’ve quietly claimed, whether it be front and centre moshing, or stand and watch to the side, disregard it, it doesn’t exist, you’re a mover, I assure you. Don’t believe me? Attend a Confidence Man gig.