Just days after hearing Lime Cordiale’s hit song “Robbery” for the first time, I found myself scrolling through the band’s list of upcoming performances, and was shocked to learn that they were coming to my workplace – the O2 Academy Oxford – in two weeks. Owing to the popularity and acclaim of the band’s most recent full-length album, 14 Steps to a Better You, it was no surprise that tickets were sold out and that all bar shifts for the night were already taken. Thankfully, I had the world’s best bosses (shoutout to Rob and Ben!), and they had a ticket waiting for me at the box office.
I initially listened to Lime Cordiale at the recommendation of a friend, with whom I spent an hour debating whether it was cor-di-AL or cor-jull (I was wrong, it’s cor-di-AL). Founded in 2009 in sunny Sydney, Australia, by brothers Oliver (“Oli”) and Louis Leimbach, Lime Cordiale released their first full album, Permanent Vacation, eight years later in 2017. Like most of Lime Cordiale’s music, Permanent Vacation combines elements of pop, rock, jazz, and indie, exploring the intersection of various genres. With an eye for eclecticism, the band has also released music with Idris Elba (give their 2022 EP Cordi Elba a listen!).
I arrived at the O2 slightly earlier than necessary, and had the fortune of running into what I presumed (from their oh-so-Aussie mullets) was the band. Indeed, the gaggle of guys strolling down Cowley Road were none other than Lime Cordiale! We had a pleasant chat as they told me about their time touring and I told them about my visa woes—lucky guys, I know. I left excited to see the laid-back group of normal-t-shirt-wearing friends I had met moments ago take to the stage. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was a band in multicoloured cowboy suits jumping up and down, dancing arm-in-arm, kazoos in hand. KAZOOS!
Hydrating with bottles of San Miguel in the steamy venue, Lime Cordiale goofed around in a concert as impressive in its theatrics as in its sound. Featuring James Jennings on drums, Felix Bornholdt on keys, and Nicholas (“Nicky”) Polovineo on trombone and guitar, songs like “Money”, “Robbery”, and “Temper Temper” had the audience singing and dancing. Mixing instruments like the trombone and kazoo with more traditional rock elements created an unmistakably Aussie pop.
Moments between songs were filled with jokes and call-and-responses. From Louis and Oli’s attempts to pronounce their last name in German accents to the occasional “yeehaw!”, I’ve never laughed so loudly in a concert; from what I could see and hear the same was true of everyone else. As the band concluded with “Inappropriate Behaviour”, the atmosphere was humourous and gleeful—the perfect end to an Oxford summer. Sure, I could’ve done without the flying pint at the end (my shirt still smells of Carlsberg), but I appreciated the excitement and absurdity of it all. Heck, I was happy to take part.
On my way out, I ran into Nicky (who can be found on Spotify under the name NIGHTTIME), having a smoke. We chatted about the show and, to my surprise, Nicky asked me about my life as an American at Oxford, even remembering my visa troubles. We had a good laugh about the annoyance of immigration laws, and I thanked him for an incredible show before parting ways. The night had turned me into a lifelong fan. After all, it was a concert filled with incredible talent, incomparable hilarity, and best of all, KAZOOS!