Live Review: Maribou State at the Sydney Opera House

Fresh off the back of a world tour and preparing for a big weekend at Splendour in the Grass, British electronic duo Maribou State made their way to the Sydney Opera House for a one-off performance of their new record ‘Kingdoms in Colour’. Man of Many went along to check out all the action from inside the Opera House’s Concert Hall.

Straying from their bass-heavy 2015 debut LP ‘Portraits’, Maribou State’s second venture offers a kaleidoscope of influences from their global tour. ‘Kingdoms In Colour’ marks a refining of their aesthetic and honestly, the outcome speaks for itself. If you’ve ever been a fan of James Blake or Four Tet, it’d be a sin not to give Maribou State a listen.

To preface, there is something uniquely special about walking around the side of Circular Quay on your way to a performance. With the Coathanger in the distance and the Sydney skyline all around the bar had been set. For many Sydney locals, the Opera House is like a fine piece of art – look but don’t touch. Unless you’re a classical music aficionado, you probably have never even set foot inside the venue. For us, it was our first time past the front steps and gravitas that comes along with such a building is palpable.

On entering the Concert Hall, the sold-out crowd was awash with nervous chatter. The tone quickly changed as the lights dimmed. A palpable sense of excited anticipation fell over the room before the duo, Chris Davids and Liam Ivory walked onto the stage joined by their touring members. Starting strong with the crowd favourite ‘Feel Good’, it didn’t take long before everyone in the audience was on their feet.

There’s no doubt that the Concert Hall contributed to the electric vibe of the night. As the technicolour ambience paints the high vaulted ceiling and the combination of hollow frequency production and orchestral grounding takes over, you are fully immersed into Maribou’s kingdom. The room feels more like a naturally crafted amphitheatre focusing every eye and ear to the submerged performer in the centre of the conflux.

The party continued throughout the night. Throughout Maribou solidified their penchant for collaboration, as touring guest Holly Walker joined offering her angelic vocals for renditions of ‘Nervous Tics’ and ‘Steal’. Her addition became a highpoint of the revving the crowd into a riot of the excitable energy. Maribou State closed out the night with ‘Rituals’ and ‘Turnmills’, before leaving the stage to rapturous applause. There’s no such thing as a standing ovation when you’ve had the crowd on their feet for the last hour and a half.

There is no doubt that the seamless mix of orchestral strings, experimental percussion and electronic production is an unreplicable recipe and a signature of Maribou State. Accompanied by a crowd, lights and a venue that not only complemented but often created a sensorial immersive experience that left the audience wanting for nothing. Events such as this are what live music is all about.

Remember the name, Maribou State.