Communitas was a microcosm of all that is good about Melbourne

Love Tonight dropped in 2017 and Shouse continued to ride high on its success. More recently they released the critically acclaimed Won’t Forget You, enhanced by controversial remixes from David Guetta, Vintage Culture and Marcel Dettmann, among others. This continued success underlines their continued strength and ability to evolve in the dynamic music landscape.

Shouse’s enduring appeal can be attributed to their diverse musical insight. They seamlessly blend disco, soul and classic pop into their electronic framework, creating a sound that effortlessly straddles the line between nostalgic and progressive. This unique style has cemented their status as one of Melbourne’s best electronic acts.

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Given their fame, it was no surprise that RISING hired Shouse as one of its star attractions, for a performance titled Communitas (a Latin term loosely referring to “an unstructured state in which all members of a community are equal”).

What was unexpected, however, was the choice of location: the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Love Tonight owes much of its success to its anthemic choir of voices, which creates a communal and uplifting atmosphere that resonates with audiences around the world. St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its breathtaking architecture and spiritual significance, provided the perfect backdrop for such a performance. But it wasn’t Love Tonight on the setlist – instead it was an immersive mass music event, with many people, many voices, many hands, coming together to make spontaneous music.

This wasn’t the first time Melbourne’s iconic cathedral had hosted live music. Melbourne Music Week famously turned the building into a rave venue years ago for a set by DJ Hell. Despite the irony, St. Paul’s is a particularly progressive community that reflects Melbourne’s inclusive spirit. Giant banners welcoming refugees and accepting the Uluru Declaration reinforce this idea. While St. Paul’s previously hosted events for RISING, Shouse’s Communitas was a step further.

Organizing around a thousand people – many of whom had attended training workshops, while others had no idea what to expect – for such a spectacular array of singing and choreography was a monumental achievement.

There was no formal introduction on the day, just passionate performers dressed in white leading by example. The audience, ranging from toddlers to 90-year-olds, transformed into a dancing and singing choir reminiscent of a scene from The Blues Brothers.

Children played xylophones on one side, a grand piano on the other, and a host of fascinating musicians spread out in an epic band beneath the altar, with a roving brass section adding to the grandeur.

Overhead, a light show swirled giant red and yellow circles around the cathedral, while natural light streamed in through the stained glass above. Purple and blue smoke enveloped the dancing crowd, who were continually urged to throw their arms high above them, hands swirling in passionate union, not with God, but with love.

Shouse’s performance in such an extraordinary venue was a remarkable honor, and they fully lived up to the high expectations. A lot of credit goes to RISING for making all this possible. More information here.