Sugar Nightclub, Victoria BC, April 17

Photo: Kim Jay

BY Ashley HampsonPublished Apr 18, 2015

Though the venue wasn't packed, the crowd in support of local talent Humans charged the atmosphere and pushed the energy to the brim. Oddly, the entire barrier in front of the stage was free of writhing bodies, the crowd choosing to cluster in small groups midway back. It wasn't until vocalist Robbie Slade made his way to the front of the stage to hand out a bag of balloons to those in the front row — while band mate Peter Ricq set up behind him — that people began to push forward, spilling into the empty space and helping blanket the venue with floating white orbs.
"This is one of my favourite towns in the whole entire world," expressed Slade to shouts of approval, stepping behind the setup to join Ricq. The duo opened with a subdued, extended version of "Avec Mes Mecs" stripped of its original electro charm, and accompanied every few minutes by the pops and bursts of balloons trampled underfoot. Crowd favourite "Clothespins" followed, but a glitch in setup had volume levels far lower than normal, especially during such a banger. Slade and Ricq hovered over the decks, hurriedly adjusting cables and cords while one of the best tracks of the set quietly slipped by. Luckily, they managed to right the sound and finish the song full force though, Slade flashing the peace sign to the crowd lining the stairs flanking the stage.
Their set strayed quite a bit from the electro-pop they normally make — and that they've come to be characterized by — and focused heavily on material from their new album, Noontide. The extended, elongated takes on tracks like "Cold Soba" and "At the Beach" started off with promise, but after what seemed like a exceptionally long time of little to no fluctuation and variation, and even the crowd losing interest in the repetition, Humans' set began to lose its momentum. The band's dynamic has always relied heavily on their eclectic sound, pairing electro, pop, soul and house and never losing the crowd by focusing on the banal details of a track, but their new material just wasn't holding interest.
They finally broke up the lag with "Tell Me," once again flexing their electronic muscle and regaining the interest of those in attendance. His ever-charming self, Slade engaged in a bit of banter, poking and prodding Ricq to drink a beer and loosen up; it might also have been intended for the crowd.

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