Australian duo Crooked Colours brought together a diverse crowd of revelers for their lively show at The Fonda on Friday night, joined by LA indie-pop band SWIMM for the entirety of their North American tour. Phil Slabber on vocals, guitar and production and Liam Merrett-Park on drums performed a range of tunes off their major label debut album Tomorrows (which was out in September) as well as fan favorites from years past.
John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” played in full prior to Crooked Colours taking the stage and the crowd was feeling it. The lights blinked, silhouetting the instruments and the stage while Slabber and Merrett-Park entered for the percolating percussion and chill vocal of 2019 track “I’ll Be There”. The “ooh ooh” of this track set the environment wonderfully for Slabber’s voice, which has a special quality of sounding like it’s in different stages of a dream state. “LA, how we doing? Holy shit!”, said Slabber.
“No Sleep” was the embodiment musically of the show, a stunning collection of songs for a delirious mindset, and the floor vibrated from the bass, like a subway was underground. Tomorrows lead single “Love Language” released in 2020 was next, easily a favorite to sing and dance along to, while Slabber’s falsetto shined, Merrett-Park’s percussion was absolutely killer and the colors fluctuated from greens and turquoises to indigo and purple hues.
Slabber came forward, away from the keys for “Hold On”, with sound and visuals paired beautifully; the danceable song was teasing the crowd with lights that were getting slightly more bouncy and aggressive and the synth was pretty. Merrett-Park greeted the fans with a few words in his bucket hat and then introduced their album’s title track “Tomorrows”, delighting the crowd as they jumped to the “yeah yeahs”, while the slick and energetic production powered through. The heavy bass and instrumentation slapped on “Show Me” with cool drum beats and some mysterious production, while “Feel It” blended the peacefulness with a white and black stage wash, smashing into a magenta color on the chorus for the chaotic moments, getting the crowd’s heart rates up.
“We’re Crooked Colours, we’re just a couple of lads from Western Australia”. They gave a shout to the SWIMM guys being on the whole tour with them. They continued with Slabber picking up the guitar for the sort of rapped/spoken word “I Hope You Like It”, delivered over its huge, tropical sort of beats. New tune “Holiday” glistened with blue and white lights pulsing over the crowd, while the wonky synth kept things moving. The guys stopped the show for about a minute for an engagement that happened on the stage and the crowd was loving it.
Popular tune “Do It Like You” was incredible live, with The Fonda crowd grooving during a slightly extended version with a mini drum solo from Merrett-Park. Slabber programmed his “do it like” vocal and grabbed the guitar for an impressive multi-instrumentalist moment. Early hit “Flow” brought out the guitar strums from Slabber whose voice and the production coupled with the drums were quite alluring with a pulsing red light show. Hayden James’ collab “Rather Be With You” with Crooked Colours was fast and in some moments sounded like a film score, with lights blazing the fans living for the energy.
For their encore, Crooked Colours dropped some addicting beats from “Fight Night”, with the floor vibrating again like a spaceship was landing and two other lively songs while the lights cascaded across the musicians.
Words by Michael Menachem
Images by Tim Aarons