There’s been much debate as to whether Confidence Man are a gift worth receiving in 2018. A portion of people acknowledge them as the dose of hedonism we all need right now. Some think they’re the best thing since Talking Heads. Some think they look like Australian children’s group, The Wiggles, on ecstasy. The angle that intrigued and entertained me the most however, was how downright offensive, Triple-J worshipping, psych-rock purists find them. Someone actually left the comment ‘aids music’ on one of their YouTube videos. Yes, the vitriol runs that deep.
After very little decision-making on our part, we ingested the hype, met up with a few, fellow idiots and ventured into the unknown. What I and the rammed rafters of the Village Underground discovered was that for 60 solid minutes, crowd participation can be achieved on all kinds of levels, bald, grown men love a synchronised dance routine and sweat was just a mere accessory on who could throw the best shapes.
I don’t want to hyperbolise but it was probably the most fun anyone in that room has had for quite a long time. Confidence Man’s philosophy is that the limit does not exist on how much of a dork it’s acceptable to be. It’s an open invitation to shake off the shackles of whatever shit is going on in your life right now and ‘get down’. They say these two words a lot and I tell you what, it has quite the impact.
Their element of performance art is the most enthralling; Janet Planet lives up to her futurist, super-bitch persona with a cold, steel gaze and a plethora of white, 60s go-go outfits that render many men speechless. Sugar Bones, a camp Adonis with spectacular curtains operates as an Aussie Bez. The whole thing is vaguely reminiscent of Danish pop group, Aqua. They’re tethered by two, veiled backing musicians who never lose their disguise and like to high five a lot. Naturally, the absolute focus has to be on Janet and Sugar.
Confidence Man is clearly a well-oiled machine that has birthed from a desire to take the piss a bit; their daft veneer masks just how satirical they really are. All you need to do is look at their purposely expressionless faces and the looseness of their set to know if you take it too seriously, you really are missing the point. Ultimately, the denizens of the Village Underground move as one to a fusion of funkadelic house beats, giddy rhythms and bitchy lyrics with big ambitions and the tunes are relentless; ‘Don’t You Know I’m In A Band’ is gleefully sarcastic with a Right Said Fred gloss, ‘Bubblegum’ is a tooth-achingly, sugary joyride whilst the brilliant, Better Sit Down Boy is pure sass.
Out The Window, a unified favourite, is preserved for the encore. An euphoric, baggy bounce that has been cut and pasted straight from Screamadelica, Andrew Weatherall would froth at the mouth if he hasn’t already heard it. Confidence Man, like a small child, are playing with the pure pleasure that comes with living in a world of your own creation and they’ve opened a magnetic gateway for anyone itching to let their dork flag fly. Now, get down.
Photos by Katie Willoughby