October 8th @ The Esplanade—Review by Karen Murphy
Walking through the gates, two huge dome stages loomed at the other end of the massive fenced-off oval. Directly in front of the entrance were the Channel V, Snowball, and Breakthrough Big Top stages. Crowds were scattered between all three. Walking forward to the Breakthrough, STONEFIELD had just walked on, a four-piece girl band from Melbourne that started a strong set with hard-core rock and roll. The tent was dark. Bright yellow and blue lights silhouetted the group and the crowd marched towards the stage, cheering on guitarist, Sarah Findlay as she ripped through chords that near shattered the audience’s ears. Drummer and lead vocalist, Amy Findlay, was sweating. Her beats were felt in the floor as she belted out ‘Foreign Lover.’ The crowd roared. Towards the back, on scattered areas of grass, groups of people sat down— sandals, maxi-dresses, band t-shirts—eating food from the centre stalls, and chilling to the echo of the music.
BRITISH INDIA took to the Crossover stage with an air of discontent. Swearing at the crowd, the band stormed the stage with an air of confidence that made each curse sound like a compliment. “One more song then we’ll fuck off,” showed how at home and natural the festival environment was to them, as if they were playing in their garage at home to friends. Including hits such as ‘I Said I’m Sorry’ and ‘God is Dead (Meet the Kids)’ the crowd swayed and people spilled beer on their partners, kissed and made up, and sung very very loudly to the boys on stage. The group’s set was strong; the roof was raised, and on came CHILDREN COLLIDE.
Children Collide played with a halo of yellow around them, their music was raw and the crowd loved it. Shifting from one stage to the next, people cheered and threw shoes at the stage in celebration. Playing hits including ‘The Eagle’ and ‘Farewell Rocketship,’ the group played a strong set but did not interact with the audience as well as it could have.
Of course, when the GRINSPOON banner was raised on that stage later on, the crowd were wild. Playing all of their best hits Pat Davern trod all over the stage with his guitar. Standing on amps, he smashed his guitar through numbers such as ‘Chemical Heart’ and ‘Kills, Thrills and Sunday Pills,’ all the while pointing to lead singer Phil Jamieson, who pointed back, with conviction. Not missing a note the entire set, the band’s experience in the industry was evident in the way it captivated the audience and played hit after hit flawlessly.
BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH was one of many bands playing on Sunday, travelling all the way from Canada. The trio played rock/reggae with a jumping bass, smooth lyrics and a fast-paced rock and roll guitar. Guitarist Jay Malinowski, bounced around the stage like he could feel the beat racing through his blood. The band’s ska inflections soon had everyone spirits lifted—even though it started to rain. But with plastic ponchos, the crowd stayed put dancing to beats in the pouring rain. The only gripe for some was that many of the band’s songs began sounding the same.
Another international act playing was BIURET, a Korean band that sung rock/pop songs in its native tongue. Although most the audience didn’t understand what was being said, the vocals were amazing: clear with plenty of dynamics. Hey Won Moon captured the audience’s attention with her unique rock voice—dusty and coarse, yet clear and subtle. When she asked the audience to repeat the lyrics after her, the crowd had no problems singing along—a fantastic language lesson; who would have thought?
All in all it was musical gluttony. Punter flocked to local acts like YOUNG REVELRY, THE CHEMIST and THE JOE KINGS. Then there were the Australian acts, in the form of KATE MILLER HEIKE, OPERATOR PLEASE and KARNIVOOL, plus a broad range of international acts includingBEN KWELLER and LIZ GREEN (who performed with the WA Youth jazz orchestra).
The three day festival certainly achieved what it set out too—it brought Perth’s music industry together.