If you’ve listened to Triple J over the past few years, you’ve almost definitely heard a LANKS track. Over four years, Will Cuming has released around forty songs under the LANKS name, spanning multiple EPs and an album as well as a multitude of collaborations. Just before commencing this set of shows in support of his latest EP Inoue, however, he announced that they would be the final run of LANKS shows. As a result, Thursday’s show at Red Rattler Theatre was one filled with emotion, reflection and celebration.
Cuming began by apologising to his wife, Tacey, for scheduling yet another gig on Valentine’s Day. It set the scene for the rest of the set, which was full of casual chat and banter from both Cuming and the crowd. He made it clear that he was basically going to play all of his favourite LANKS songs rather than a specific setlist, which led to a few interesting moments. ‘Strangers’, his collaboration with Tia Gostelow, nearly wasn’t played until opener Shannen James saved the day with a spare capo. The whole set had an improvised feel, like we were watching a mate play a gig. This was exactly what the crowd wanted though, as it was clear many of us had been fans since day one.
Although it was announced LANKS would be coming to an end after the announcement of the show, its initial purpose was still fulfilled. Tracks from the Inoue EP were slotted in between older songs, but were just as well-received. At just three songs, the EP packs a powerful punch. Cuming told the crowd about his friend whom the EP was written for, and her battle with cancer. To hear him recount how the record came to be added another level of emotion to the songs. I can’t speak for the rest of the crowd, but for me it completely changed the way I hear those songs now.
The set was the perfect example of how eclectic LANKS’ discography really is. We floated through dreamy love songs, got down to heavy electronic collabs and sung along to catchy guitar tracks. Closer ‘Holla’ is on the opposite end of the spectrum musically to ‘twentyseven’, played early in the set, yet the crowd had the same positive reaction to both. It’s rare that an artist can span genres like he does while keeping his audience on board, but Cuming pulls it off. While he assured us he’d be back very soon with another project, it’s still very sad to see LANKS go.