CITY LIMITS @ Badlands Bar and car park
Sunday, March 5, 2017
What a great little festival debut this was. And an awesome way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon and balmy evening of the long weekend (after watching the Wildcats win!)
The inaugural City Limits festival was a resounding success with bands and punters alike, selling out at a comfortable 1200. Despite the scorching heat, the crowds rocked up early, ready to rock out.
One stage was set up at the end of a long strip of the car park outside Badlands. The was no real cover from the heat, but in a stroke of genius, the organisers fitted sprinklers to the roof of the venue. The other stage in the main room provided a respite from the heat, with the air con cranking.
The lineup of bands ran from around 2pm-11pm, alternating between the two stages all day in total clash free glory, with one band starting as the last finished. It was a real music lover’s festival, done right. No frills, it was all about the bands. The sound was loud and clear, it was easy to move around, nice priced drinks, good food (at least till it ran out), free water, and pass outs.
Not to mention the bands! Crikey! It was an all-star lineup of local legends and rising stars, headlined by home town heroes Jebediah, the all-conquering sonic force Gyroscope and Perth city’s original hip hop crew Downsyde.
They were joined by Melbourne’s 90s pop-punk legends Bodyjar, as well as a stellar selection of upcoming local talent. Hen House Rehearsal Rooms band comp winners The Belts had the honours of kicking things off.
Boat Show are something of a local supergroup of superwomen, and one dude. Featuring Dream Rimmy’s Ali Flintoff, as well as Gunns’ Jenny Aslett, they impressed many early with their feminist punk antics.
The crowd were still mostly hiding from the sun, but Verge Collection drew a dedicated group out in front of the stage to shake it to their summery, melodic indie-pop. They finished on their jangly suburban single Our Place.
Next inside was Adelaide’s Young Offenders. A confident hard rocking three-piece with a punk/ska edge, and catchy songs about money, privilege and spending too much time on your phone. Their sound takes its cues from Rancid, The Living End, The Clash and Jamie T – who vocalist/guitarist Kyle Landman conjures with his British accent and attitude. “All our music is free, so if you want any, just come see us,” he announced.
One of the best things about the day was the crowd. There was a great vibe. Apart from In The Pines, there’s not many other festivals like this. There were a lot of older faces, reliving their glory days, as well as a large contingent of younger fans. But all groups there were united in their love of the local scene.
The Love Junkies continue to impress and pulled a decent crowd outside as the punters continued to roll in. They’re a formidable live act and tore through their set led by singer Mitch McDonald’s impressive howl.
Axe Girl are really good fun. Addison Axe is an awesome, dynamic frontwoman, with a manic 80s energy. The music is so upbeat and poppy, and the band look like they’re having such a great time that you do too. Vanessa Thornton (of Jebediah fame) lends her plunging basslines to the mix of angular guitar, stomping drums, and soaring vocals. Their single Yoko is a great tune.
Melbourne’s Alex Lahey is riding on the coattails of Courtney Barnett, who’s opened up a niche for similar ‘strayan acts purveying laidback, suburban songs. But she does her own unique style, and writes cool, little tunes like L-L-L-Leave Me Alone, “a song about when you break up with someone and they don’t fuck off.” Her anthemic Let’s Go Out (“and get drunk tonight”) went down a treat, as the brutal sun finally started to fall to the left of stage.
By the time Bodyjar took to the stage outside, the festival had transformed. Light began to fade, the place was now jammed, and the atmosphere lifted a level. Bodyjar seized the moment and belted out their brand of heavy, power-punk with solid, chunky riffs. It was just what the night needed. The veterans were as tight as ever, mixing up old with new. They dedicated a song to their buddies Gyroscope, and joked “That’s Jebediah’s chopper just landing.” The camaraderie among all the bands playing today was great to see.
Things went a bit crazy when they broke out their classic Not The Same – a bit of a scuffle broke out up front, and the mosh pit sprung into action. Things got even more nuts during their brilliant cover of The Bangles’ Hazy Shade Of Winter, inspiring some crowd surfing.
Back inside Rag n’ Bone put on a heavy, bombastic show, with the powerful yet fragile vocals of Kiera Owen. They were well suited to the interior of Badlands – dark and menacing. Driven by the ferocious bass playing of Sara McPherson, along with the animated guitar work of Axel Carrington, the band produced a huge sound that pummelled those on the dancefloor. Badlands very responsibly supplied ear plugs too.
Gyroscope took to the stage like a duck takes to water and incited some serious moshing, tearing through their back catalogue with big tunes like Doctor Doctor and Beware Wolf. They sent Are You Getting Any Better out to Bodyjar, “who we’ve been gigging with for a million years.” A great tune with a bit of an Incubus vibe, that gave lead guitarist Zoran Trivic a chance to show off his chops.
Daniel Sanders face was hidden under his sweaty mop of hair, as he threw his naked torso around the stage, jumping off things. Fast Girl was received well with the crowd immediately singing along, before they suddenly segued into a faithful and massively rocking rendition of Midnight Oil’s Beds Are Burning, in what was one of the highlights of the night, with the whole crowd singing along. The guys know how to rock! And they were enjoying playing some new material as well, “We’ve been hiding away for about 10 years. Having kids and stuff.”
Pat Chow are just a great band, and they brought it during their key slot on the home stretch. Singer/Guitarist Ben Protasiewicz has a real presence – his vocals are at times sweet like Weezer, other times snarling like Deftones, while the rhythm section keep it very tight. The songs speak for themselves, with some great riffs. Outta Words is just a killer track.
Finally it was time for Jebediah and they didn’t let us down – while they’ve played a handful of gigs in the last few years, this one really felt like a proper old school Jebs gig, with the rawness of the vibe. They were in good form, kicking off with classics Jerks Of Attention and Animal which set off the jerks and animals at the front.
“This song came out 20 years ago,” said frontman Kevin Mitchell, perhaps in disbelief, before introducing Military Strongmen from debut album Slightly Odway. For those that got to see them recently at A Day On The Green in Kings Park, it was a longer, deeper set, though they still delivered a bunch of hits. They took it down a notch with Please Leave and the bloody magnificent Harpoon. Mitchell thanked the crowd sincerely for all their support over the years, before Fall Down. Somewhat appropriate with the amount of crowd surfing going on, despite the crowd not really being big enough.
Finishing things off inside with some funky beats, were the one and only Downsyde, representing WAs Syllabolix crew. It was great to see the guys again, and they put on as professional a show as always, debuting some exciting new material, while churning out a few old school classics like Lesfortunate.
MCs Optamus and Dyna-Mikes spat fire out front, backed by Rob Shaker on the wheels of steel and Moondog on guitar and soulful backing vocals. Dazastah was behind the drums, but also kicked in some rhymes – the full live show was impressive.
New song Back In The Game sounded tight and for Blue Collar their homie MC Paulie P from Denmark up to join them. They dedicated a touching version of Forever Young to sadly departed Perth hip hop legend Hunter, and Optamus summed up the night well saying “Let’s hear it for the people who put this shit on!” before finishing things off.
Badlands has really excelled with City Limits, filling a gap in the market that really needed to be filled – a well organised mini-festival supporting local music across the eras. We’re already looking forward to next year.
Pics by Rachael Barrett Photography