Irish singer-songwriter SOAK brought her gorgeous songs to the Tassie stage. A small but dedicated crowd gathered to watch her stunning performance. SOAK is the Cat Power for a new generation, powerful and warm with beautifully written songs accompanied by her gorgeous sound.
Alpine gave a passionate performance to a passionate audience. Delivering their usually chilled-out synth songs with entertaining energy, Apline are a fantastic live act to behold; the crowd that they drew is a testament to their popularity, their enduring sound and their almighty stage presence.
The comedy session with Randy and supporting acts by Tien Tran and MC Nick Coady is of mixed review. MC Nick Coady opened the show with some entertaining rants about children on airplanes and his obsessive love of thick shakes, he pumped the crowd up for the next act. Unfortunately Tien Tran’s performance was weak with cheap references based entirely on racist encounters within Australia. Quality entertainers can read their audience, however, his retaliation to racism was received as more of a immature stab rather than comedic entertainment. I could immediately tell that labelling one of our cultural icons as a disgrace would not be received well. The interest of the crowd was partially lost, however the best was saved ‘til last when everyone’s favourite little purple dude Randy made his appearance on stage. His mannerisms and jokes were targeted towards more relatable topics about the festival itself as well as his hilarious honesty on life in general saved the show and made the crowd roar with laughter. Proving that no sawdust is needed when shit really hits the bucket.
Giving the audience exactly what they expected was Seth Sentry. Seth’s individual take on hip-hop (not to mention his personality) is what makes him stand out in Australian music. It is something to behold when an entire audience of dedicated fans are rapping along word-for-word. DJ Sizzle is also a crowd favorite, almost stealing the show with his crowd surfing. But, it would be impossible to steal a show from a performer such as Seth.
Oh Wonder were the surprise highlight of the day. Gaining fame through their unconventional way of releasing music, Oh Wonder have built a loyal following through their social media prowess. Dynamic and beautifully crafted, the songs showcased by Oh Wonder leave no room to wonder why they have become so successful. If I could pick any act from the festival to watch again, Oh Wonder would be my top choice.
The most divisive musician of the Australian music scene, Courtney Barnett is either loved or hated. Somehow toeing the line between raucous energy and a disinterested nonchalance, Courtney’s performance of her award-winning songs was unbeatable. Courtney took advantage of the stage to deliver her songs as you’ve never heard them; Courtney’s energy was raw and untamed, and she threw herself into the performance with enthusiasm. The changing tempos and unpredictability of the performance made it one of the best at the festival. Courtney is a no-frills, no holds barred breath of fresh air on the Australian music scene.
Gary Clark Jr. was as charismatic as he is talented. His epic and indulgent guitar masterpieces stole the show. Hailing from Texas, Gary Clark Jr. plays a special kind of music; the kind that is simple yet intricate, a modern take on blues and roots. Gary’s songs excite and inspire, holding the audience’s attention and raising the energy with incredible ease.
Josh Pyke’s summery folk ballads were the perfect soundtrack to the New Year’s Eve sunset. His voice was as warm as the summer air and his superb songwriting talent showcased during his set. Josh Pyke is a staple of the Australian music scene for a good reason, his songs can resonate with anyone and his sound hasn’t changed radically within the ten years that he since Feeding the Wolves was released. It is because of his consistency and familiarity that he has managed to grow such a large fan base.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard play music the way it should sound; It’s a psychedelic jazz rock of sorts. Unpredictable and untamed, King Gizz gave their all on stage, with their insane sound. When a flute and harmonica find themselves alongside a smashing bass riff and dual drummers, you know you’re in for a show. With such a large stack of songs behind them, and no one needing the stage after them, King Gizz treated fans to a long set full of favorites. They were as fun to watch play as their music is to listen to; seeing them perform live was a sensory overload.
By the time RÜFÜS made it onto the stage, the crowd was drunk and getting pumped for some New Years Eve shenanigans. This is the only explanation I can give as to why no one seemed to care how uninspiring the performance was. RÜFÜS’ set was bland, repetitive and lacked heart. Magicians say that the best audience is a drunk audience, and I’m sure that RÜFÜS would agree. Clearly adding smoke to the stage doesn’t always equate to an interesting show.
Expectations were high for Bloc Party’s return to music. With an (almost) all-new line-up we were interested to see whether Bloc Party could possibly live up to the hype. They didn’t. Frontman Kele Okereke led the new line-up through a ghost town of old hits, played by what could now be considered mostly a tribute band. The songs themselves weren’t even the focus of the set, with most being overpowered by a synth-bass beat designed purely to bob the audience up and down towards the New Year. By the time the countdown started, I thought ‘finally, something interesting is going to happen.’ 2016 arrived and … nothing happened. Bloc Party launched right into their next song without missing a beat. The crowd loved it. We did not.