The Sunflower Lounge
Review by George Wainwright
Walt Disco – a musical celebration of androgyny and diversity
In late October, Walt Disco graced The Sunflower Lounge with a performative blend of post-punk and goth-glam inspired tunes.
The band were preceded by three supporting acts, the first of which were Pretty Vile, local icons of the indie punk scene. Next up, Cave Girl provided some on stage theatrics; frontman Ed Quigley pulling a flaming wallet out of his pocket mid chorus, like a magician. Fan favourite T Truman rounded off an energetic trio of opening acts with a helter skelter solo set, smoothing out the rougher edges of Pretty Vile. But even the flaming tomfoolery from Cave Girl couldn’t outshine the flamboyance of the night’s headliners, Walt Disco.
The six-piece strutted on stage with all the confidence of a band performing to a crowd ten times the size of their small audience. Each member had a stylish androgynous outfit on display, airing a suprememly self-assured attitude. Their on stage presence was only heightened by opening number ‘Weightless’. The bombastic introduction combined pulsating synths with powerful vocals, delivered by enigmatic lead singer James Potter. At times, Potter’s punchy delivery is similar to that of David Byrne’s (Talking Heads). His shimmering outfit is more reminiscent of David Bowie’s glory era, adorned in a frilly white lace shirt and sparkling dungarees. ‘Weightless’ was followed up by crowd favourites ‘Heather’ and ‘Cut Your Hair’, the latter of which lyrically challenges the stereotypes of what it means to be a young person in the 21st century. Whether it’s gender or genre, Walt Disco are a band who refuse to be placed in a box.
Self-love courses through the next segment of the set, led by pop banger ‘Selfish Lover’. During the song, Potter shares a moment of physical intimacy with his bassist – an act which makes the lyrics all the more sincere. Without missing a beat, the band immediately burst into ‘Hey Boy (You Are One Of Us)’. In this moment, the audience feels in complete unison, immersed in the wacky world of Walt Disco; a place where we are assured we all belong. The set spirals through a course of instrumental synth orchestrated interludes following the energetic first half. The music creates an uncomfortable tone as the scratchy guitars and glitchy synths start to clash against one another. The glittering glam-rock is replaced by an uncomfortable industrial sound that veers towards a punk-pop origin. But for the finale, the band returns with an extra abundance of charm and bravado.
Potter introduces an unnamed new song that he’s ecstatic to share, composed of swirling vocal harmonies backed up by shrill guitar riffs. The new number sounds like it should be played over the intercom in the cockpit of a 1970’s space shuttle – an exciting taste of the band’s expansive direction. The audience is more familiar with the following tracks: ‘Strange To Know Nothing’ and lastly ‘My Pop Sensibilities’. The disco double-punch sends the crowd into a rapture, much to the beaming delight of James Potter up on stage. The set ends with dazzling lights and frenzied dancing, an environment that Walt Disco is swiftly becoming more acclimated to on this tour.
Beyond the instrumentals, the performance displayed the hold that music has over our individual personalities and identities. Walt Disco encourages their audience to be whoever and whatever they desire; and what better words of affirmation than those belted down the microphone at The Sunflower Lounge.