- 27 Mar 19
The Olympia stage is dark on Tuesday night. Four silhouetted figures take their positions, lining up neatly across the set. A projection screen whirrs to life behind the musicians, slides rolling past like a sepia-toned film until the word “INTERNET” becomes visible. Patrick Paige II’s smooth bass notes ring out over the cheering crowd, accompanied by drum beats from Christopher Smith, funky guitar chords from Steve Lacy and keyboard tones from Matt Martians. All four men bob their heads and knees in harmony.
Lead vocalist Syd walks on stage, and the room erupts. Though she’s wearing a simple tan T-shirt and wide-legged black pants, her presence paints the scene a dozen different colors. The projection screen fades to an animated drawing of two brown heads facing each other, their insides a visible mass of five differently colored sections, one for each member of the band.
This is The Internet, an LA-based soul band originally formed in 2011. The group was originally tied to LA hip-hop collective Odd Future, which featured Syd and Martians alongside other artists like Tyler, the Creator. They have supported acts like Gorillaz on tour and have released four studio albums, including 2011’s Purple Naked Ladies, 2013’s Feel Good and 2015’s Grammy-nominated Ego Death.
With their opening song, ‘Come Together’ from 2018 album Hive Mind, The Internet and their audience become one. A blended chorus of “They gon’ get us to / Come together” reverberates through the three-story venue as the band transitions into their second tune, ‘Roll (Burbank Funk).’
Syd’s connection with the audience is immediate and palpable – when the crowd sings emphatically, she turns the mic over to them. She waves to each corner of the room, making sure to hit the balconies. When she so much as turns her shoulders a certain way, screams flare up like wildfire.
“This is our first [solo] show in Dublin, right?” Syd muses to her bandmates between throwback tune ‘Dontcha’ and R&B bop ‘Under Control.’ “Damn, y’all are crazy. Y’all are pretty hype, so this is pretty cool.”
The lead vocalist, however, isn’t the only band member to get her moment in the sun. Drummer Smith shines during ‘Gabby,’ a beat-driven tune with a drum solo section that earns some of the loudest cheers of the night.
The Internet evades definition. Funky melodies in ‘La Di Da’ become 90s hip-hop beats in ‘Mood.’ Some songs end like orchestral pieces, various instruments fading out until a certain tone is left hanging in the air, or include jazz-like sections that feature each member individually. This group is mutable, dynamic. Their sound puts on no pretense.
The Dublin crowd, of course, responds accordingly, jamming along unapologetically to each tune in succession. Before romantic tune ‘Hold On,’ someone in the crowd hands Syd an Irish flag. She presses a hand to her heart as she poses for a picture, the audience chanting ‘Olé, Olé, Olé’ at the top of their lungs. The band smiles, laughs and claps along with them.
‘Hold On’ showcases Syd’s vocal skills – a quieter song, her soft, understated tone is the star here. Boys in the front row wrap their arms around their girlfriends, their lips moving in sync with Syd’s: “Thinking ahead of time / Why don’t you spend the night? / I know you love me / Pick up and roll the dice.”
The next tune, ‘Come Over,’ brings guitarist Lacy centre stage, where the audience goes wild for his riffs. Bassist Paige gets his turn in ‘Stay the Night,’ his chilled-out tones aligning with the calming blue of an animated bedroom projected behind him. Syd kneels down and sings directly to the front row during ‘Special Affair.’ After the audience participates in a swear-filled singalong during ‘Just Sayin,’ Syd’s smile is wide.
“This might be my favourite crowd of the tour,” she admits. “You guys are awesome, man.”
The audience’s enthusiasm maintains its intensity through serious song ‘It Gets Better (With Time),’ which centres on Syd’s experiences with depression. “You can relate it to so many things,” she says. “For me, it’s really personal. I hope you guys feel it too.”
Four more atmospheric tunes wind down the show: ‘Beat Goes On,’ featuring Lacy and keyboardist Martians on vocals; feel-good jam ‘Wanna Be;’ fan favourite ‘Girl;’ and love song ‘Curse,’ which Syd dedicates to Dublin.
The concert ends on a high, the crowd jumping as one to the energy-filled ‘Get Away.’ Everyone has their hands up, vying for one last acknowledging wave from a band member. Someone passes their phone to Lacy, who takes a selfie with the audience.
Accompanied by another rousing round of ‘Olé, Olé, Olé,’ The Internet leaves the stage, laughing. Echoes of joy fill the Olympia long after they’re gone.