2015 and ‘the house of power’ (Powerhouse) welcomes three time travelers, the Retrofuturists, who are lost on their search for pleasure from the past. Guided by their theremin ‘oracle’, James Halloran, Xanthe Jones and Regan Lynch are on a mission to make sense of our present society, to experience the infamous sensation of pleasure, and finally to find their way back to the year 3035. Armed with a gigantic pair of wings made from videotape, glam rock costumes and euro-pop inspired music, the Retrofuturists bring news from the future, alternative patriotic perspectives of the military, and warnings of privacy violation through our mobile phones.
Throughout their enterprising set list the sharp tongued entertainers combine electric original music with science fiction cabaret to comment on the political and temporal issues of the years 2015 and 3035 alike. The act ensures a night of delights with songs that range from uplifting (or in some cases oppressive) anthems, to heartbreaking ballads which beg for understanding and assistance. A highlight of the threesome’s set list was a translated track originally written by their oracle and sung in English to benefit those of us who don’t “speak theremin”. The song begins with loving lyrics and a sweet yet simple ukelele-tambourine accompaniment, and builds to a belted ballad of the oracle’s anguish and hardship which is both heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measures. Other memorable renditions include an empowering anthem which encourages us to ‘rise like a phoenix’, and an outlook on the military’s evidently inclusive nature – paired with a sign exclaiming ‘We’re here, we’re queer, we’re gonna kill you!’ – that simply must be from a time other than our own!
With Halloran’s astounding vocals in the band’s epic ballads, Jones’ sassy struts and heavenly harmonies, and Lynch’s quirky communication of contexts and confusions, the threesome are a force to be reckoned with. Even with the fantastic songs and frequent political messages, some of the poetic language was unfortunately drowned out by either a guitar with too much grit or backing vocals that overpowered our absorption of the lead singer’s commentary. While the unusual trio could benefit from a few amp nob twists and some tightening of their contemporary dance routines, their charismatic charm and electric energy held the ‘tempiotic’ (the time equivalent of patriotic) tunes together.
The climactic moment of the band’s set, pun intended, was a liberating discovery of a single audience member’s possession of pleasure which, when unleashed onto the band members through the oracle’s guidance, eventuated into an explosion of orgasmic excitement! The band stripped to their underwear and dropped to their knees over both the overwhelming pleasure set free within their bodies and the unexpected realization that a world of pleasure awaits them and all they need is the time to experience it!
Through song The Retrofuturists ask “Can you last for one more show?” and I definitely believe they have many to come in their, or more appropriately our, future.
– Written by Rhumer Diball December 7th 2015
A TRASHY NIGHT WITH THE RETROFUTURISTS PRESENTED BY REGAN LYNCH & BRISBANE POWERHOUSE
SAT DEC 5– SUN DEC 6, 2015.
Photo Credit Stephen Sloggett and Esther Art.