Guaranteed to send shivers down your spine as surely as a lover’s whisper, Cub Sport’s aching harmonies and zen disco vibes thrilled their audience at their sold -out gig at the Enmore last Friday.
Not only did they churn out more than two hours’ worth of bangers for the pleasure of their grooving fans, but their personal stories are as much a part of their crowd-pull as their music. Vocalist Tim Nelson and keyboardist/vocalist Sam Netterfield tied the knot last year after campaigning for marriage equality during the nightmarish plebiscite. They have spoken openly about their love story and the challenges and blessings of being queer – and their fans love them for it.
From the second I walked through the doors, the excitement in the theatre was tangible. The red-curtained walls enveloped us all in a glorious fortress of acceptance, and smiles and nods were tossed freely from face to face as people held hands with their sweethearts of all genders and sexualities. One couple said this atmosphere was the reason for their attendance – Andy, 48, heard one Cub Sport song and immediately bought tickets for him and his partner. ‘They’re all about inclusivity,” he said. “Everyone is just here to care about each other and have a good time.”
And have a good time we did.
Nelson opened Cub Sport’s set with an unaccompanied melodic solo that soared and tunnelled through notes reminiscent of Freddie Mercury’s vast vocal range. Jase, 20, described Nelson’s voice as “hypnotic” and “captivating” – well worth the hour and a half he and his friends travelled to see the show.
Once the band kicked in, though, the dance floor was officially open. The synth sounds and electronic indie-pop combined with pulsing beats and soulful vocals to weave a magic spell over the audience. Nelson drifted around the stage as if in a dream, silhouetted against a stage-wide screen that either flashed colours, time-delayed visuals, or at one beautiful point, footage from Nelson and Netterfield’s nuptials. An honourable mention also goes to the pair’s doggo, who made more than one appearance in the film and got a cheer every time.
The band played their audience as surely as their instruments. After kicking off with some dance floor beats guaranteed to get us moving, Cub Sport dropped the tone and wove us a love story before serving up the Party Pill once again. Nelson seamlessly managed dual microphones for a good part of the show, alternating between the pure and perfect tones of his own voice and the buzzy bone-deep chimes of synth effects.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the deliciously slow-cooked electro-pop of openers Two People, closely followed by the driving beats of WAFIA’s toe tapping rhythms. Cub Sport did well in choosing these artists to start stoking the coals, and the stage must have been toasty warm under their feet when they kicked things off. I had a chat to two Claire’s and a Kiera, all 23, who classified WAFIA’s I’m Good as a break up anthem – and who can argue with that. Its sass and sadness in equal measure, combined with funky strings and a chunky bass line, makes you want to two-step down the street.
The night wrapped up with a highly anticipated encore, as the Cubs covered a Billie Eilish original to close out the evening. If you haven’t already heard their triple j Like A Version of when the party’s over, do yourself a favour and check it out – now.
I walked out of the Enmore with a heart full of love, a head full of tunes, and a smile on my face. Can’t give higher praise than that!
Laura is studying Law/International Relations and devotes her spare brainpower to making sense of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She loves politics and social justice, escaping the city to go climbing or diving, and bio-glitter. Her usual methods of self-care are buying more houseplants or singing Disney songs in the shower.