-By Finn Smith
The New York and LA based duo MS MR adorned Australian shores once again to launch their national headline tour as well as play all Groovin the Moo dates. They kicked of the Western Australian leg of the tour at the Rosemount, with local act Grrl Pal supporting.
Local Perth act Grrl Pal consisting of Jay LeKat, vocalist, and Danny K, producer, arrived on stage and fronted a large crowd to perform half an hour of glitch/synth-pop. The bands unique style draws upon a wide amalgamation of sounds resulting in synth driven looping melodies, hook heavy deliveries and airy vocals. The highlight of their performance was Dare, the song allowed Jay to showcase her remarkable vocals as she effortlessly transcends a wide spectrum of vocal ranges through the lyrics “come with me”. These vocals resonate within the context of the backtrack, which consist of heavy swooping synths and billowing drums. As the band left stage the duo gave some parting words and the audience grew yet again in anticipation for the main act of the night.
After a short interlude MS MR exploded onto the stage with both charisma and style to a packed out crowd, vocalist Lizzy Plapinger sported a hot red leather jacket, long pink hair, a black sports bra and jeans; a fittingly bold outfit to match her emphatic performance. Lizzy was joined on-stage by producer and keys player Max Hershenow to complete the duo, whilst a drummer and guitarist also entered the stage to accompany MS MR. Their presence alone radiated a tangible sense of happening and creativity, aesthetically they portrayed two empowered individuals that effortlessly drew the attention of the crowd before they even touched their instruments. You could feel the excitement build as they adjusted their respective instruments in preparation for the next hour of music.
They started on a strong note projecting their contagious energy and clean alt-pop sound to the audience with their first song fantasy. Through the use of sharp clean lyrics and chanting drums that provided a deep rhythmic undertone it was the perfect song to kick off the night. Once the tone had been set they continued to feed the crowd with uplifting songs such as No Guilt in Pleasure, Reckless and Tripolar. Before playing No Guilt in Pleasure Max gave some insight into the songs meaning stating, “This song is about going out, making mistakes, learning from them and doing whatever makes you feel fucking awesome”. The crowd erupted as they allowed themselves to be swept away by the deep droning synths, melodic piano hooks and vocals that highlighted Lizzy’s depth and range. Lyrics like:
“These veteran beasts appear to know best
Rotten youth with no regrets
No cowards here, too bold to submit
Season after season, we still can’t quit”
resonated throughout the crowd as the song provided a relatable embodiment of experiences that I’m sure many of the audience members had been through. Another important note to touch on is Max’s exceptional dance moves, never before had I seen such passionate energetic dancing on stage.
It was at this point that MS MR reduced the tempo and settled into a slower soothing groove allowing everyone to catch their breath, and the duo to show their more refined emotional side. They played songs with slow melodic tempos such as This Isn’t Control, with my personal highlight being BTSK. Lizzy told the crowd that BTSK “Is a love song close to my heart” and “we recently added this song to our Australian tour set list”. The song explores themes of love and loss which I conceptualised as a love letter between two troubled and turbulent lovers who both bear the scars of a broken heart. Soft piano, stings and synth provide a gentle backtrack that ebbs and flows in tune to the lyrics and provides a clean palate for Lizzy’s voice. This drew meaning and emphasis to the simple yet elegant lyrics such as:
“I found you in pieces
You’d been torn apart
A million one reasons to end before you start
But deep down I knew
No matter what in the end
It’d be me and you”
They created an intimate and deeply personal atmosphere with astonishing ease, this wasn’t to last long as they kicked it straight back into fifth gear playing Think of You a song they described as “A song about the assholes of the world. Playing this song is like group therapy for us”. They played the hard hitting song with fitting vigour and energy urging the audience to feed off the heavy bass line and powerful lyrics. The next song played was Wrong Victory, arguably one of their most popular and well known songs, which they have recently released a video clip for. Lizzy said that “it’s a video we are really proud of”.
As the end of the set approached MS MR left no stone unturned playing their biggest three crowd pleasers one after another. The first of these was Criminals, before playing Lizzy stripped down removing her leather jacket as if preparing herself for the songs to come. Criminals is a deeply rhythmic song with a commanding drum beat and captivating chorus that the whole audience sang along too. Next up was Hurricane a song that has received a considerable amount of radio play, again the audience knew every word to the song and chanted it with as much passion and intent as MS MR. The time had come for the last song of the set, the audience waited in anticipation for what they hoped would be the band new hit single Painted. A few people couldn’t contain their excitement and called out for the song, their calls were answered with the heavily layered, piano singed song that caresses a fine line between alt pop and EDM, with the lyrics “what did you think would happen” echoing throughout the venue.
After the band left stage the echoes of song lyrics were replaced with the chant of encore, the band returned to once again dominate the stage with a unique cover of Miike Snows Genghis Kahn, which they recently premiered on Triple J’s ‘Like a Version’. When MS MR had wrapped up their final song they thanked the audience and exited off stage, the crowd dispersed and everyone went their separate ways with a uniting feeling of content and jubilation.
Photo Credit: Rosemount Hotel/Rachael Barrett Photography