The Peacock Theatre in Salamanca – a historic dockside part of inner city Hobart – is quite unique. It is part of a line of old sandstone warehouses facing the docks and the back wall of the stage is the raw rock cliff face that backs the buildings. It is a small and intimate space, but the way Costume (the persona of Adam Ouston) performs, it could have been a vast stadium filled with thousands. His performance is quite exhilarating – eyes closed, he twists and turns to the music like a serpent, in a dream-like state, breathing and living the music with a voice and style that recalls eighties New Romantic synth performers like Visage.
Playing to a multi-track recorder – his ‘band’ – and accompanied by violinist Natalya Bling, Costume’s voice is extraordinary – I was reminded of times of Martin Fry from ABC or David Bowie with a range that often reached the falsetto highs of Bronski Beat. And there were, fittingly, costumes – a thin white duke then a masked Pan-like creature, paganistic, mysterious and sensual, both being discarded and unmasked to reveal Costume’s lithe self.
Costume played some new material as well as material from his debut album Pan: layered synth sounds with beats and percussions, all covered by the live violin sounds that highlighted and enlivened the performance. ‘Alone in Berlin’ and Bang, Bang’, both singles were dynamic and atmospheric standouts. You can get Pan here or below:
You can catch Costume at the following dates in March:
Supporting Costume was Parker – the name for Launceston artist Tash Parker who put on a stunning opening show – her voice was immense and powerful and her songs expressive and emotive with a magnetic personality. It was a hugely entertaining performance and she is another artist worth looking out for. Have a listen her recent single ‘Become the Fool’.