Mansionair are masters at creating ambiance and manipulating atmosphere in a live setting. The Sydney trio took to the Oxford Art Factory last night in a show that rose, fell and brought all the feels during a set that was littered with their five or so released singles but also contained plenty of unreleased music and an unexpected cover.
They boys have toured with the likes of The Rubens, Chvrches and Foals over the last few years and it’s clearly served them in good stead, as they projected a stage presence and generated crowd engagement that belies their outward shyness and youth as individuals on stage.
After an opening set from Plgrms who definitely set the mood with a similarly emotive electronic performance, Mansionair started the set with an extended intro. They then launched into one of their massive singles Pick Me Up – and immediately the crowd was hit with this sense of loneliness and pain, but also hope, through their gorgeous mix of synths, guitars and vocals. We then were treated to some material that’ll likely be featured on their forthcoming 2017 record, before they played one of their early hits; the majestic and joyous Speakeasy.
Recorded music by the group really doesn’t do justice to the vocal abilities of frontman Jack Froggart – who’s ability to almost single-handedly transform the mood of the room by imbuing his unbelievable falsetto with joy, sadness, hope or fear made the performance so much more live and raw then I could have expected.
We then hear another yet-to-be-released track, which from the sounds of things might be called something along the lines of Waiting Room. When released, it’ll be their most triumphant and blissful track to date. Then Froggart announces that they’ll be playing a song they wrote yesterday called We Could Leave. Predictably, it’s another amazing effort. This next album is really going to propel Mansionair to new heights.
Then, a moment that unites the room comes out of absolutely nowhere. The performance up until this point had created mood and emotion, but no one song had united the crowd in chorus. Froggart asks if we would mind if they perform a cover, before they launch into a very raw, stripped back take on Jamie XX’s massive 2015 single Loud Places. At once we are all singing, and of anyone that comes to mind Froggart does more than justice to Jamie’s vocals.
The crowd is definitely at peak excitement as the band move into their 2014 track Hold Me Down, and then finally, after a bold and unexpected vocoder – we hear their latest single, and the heaviest tune they’ve created so far: Easier. An apt way to end a performance where Mansionair brought all the feels to an audience that probably weren’t quite prepared for the emotional rollercoaster of a gig that we were treated to.