Most cubs learn to roar, but Cub Sport has learnt to soar. The four-piece Brisbane band gave an ethereal performance at the first of their sold-out hometown shows last night. Fitting, as they call their fans 'Angels'.
Kiwi-bred artist Merk (real name Mark Perkins) and his band kicked off the night at The Triffid with their psychedelic alt-pop tunes, followed by Eves Karydas, another Brisbanite doing big things. Not only is she on tour with Cub Sport at the moment, but she's also juggling a small stint with Dua Lipa, who was named Best Breakthrough Artist and Solo Female at the Brit Awards this year. Her work has a similar sound to Dua, but with lighter vocals. She was a good act to get the audience grooving but her songs felt similar and lacked a build over her short set.
Then finally, as a neon sign with the titular band's name was unveiled, Tim Nelson, Sam Netterfield, Zoe Davis and Dan Puusaari were set to begin.
White beams of light streamed past the bleached blonde Tim in his billowing silk shirt as the first a cappella notes of O Lord rang out around The Triffid. It was a vision of divinity. Released as the first single from BATS, O Lord was of course the perfect way to introduce the set.
It's been a whirlwind few years for Cub Sport, from touring with Saskwatch and The 1975, to bandmates Tim and Sam coming out, dating, and announcing their engagement. Meanwhile, their fanbase has skyrocketed with shows selling out in the UK and US, and they've even scored the coveted spot of supporting Vance Joy on his September Australian tour.
BATS chronicles the journey of Tim and Sam's tangled relationship: childhood friends confessing their feelings, the gambles of love and self-acceptance. Tim risked the privacy of their personal lives by releasing what is virtually an audio diary, but his trust has paid off in the loyalty bred in his audience. Having taken seven years to release their debut album, BATS followed swiftly within a year: the work was inspired. He introduced songs on stage with honest details of their lives together, like Crush, which was the result of a long overdue conversation Tim and Sam had on July 1st 2016. Then followed Solo III - "the next part of the story". All the while, Sam's desirous gaze tracked Tim's every movement as he sang.
It is a privilege to have seen this band evolve from their sweet tunes about Tim's dog Evie to this uncharted darker territory about self-realisation and acceptance. Perhaps moving away from their indie-pop prescription is really them stepping into the sincere sound they've always wanted to be. Last night's performance was, without a doubt, an awakening of maturity.
Cub Sport's songs will make you dance whilst crying. They're a soul-capturing ear-worm that makes you feel something at the end of it. I left The Triffid with a full heart, feeling like I've witnessed not a raw love song, but a love album. And I was honoured.