[wzslider autoplay=”true” height=”500″ transition=”‘slide'” lightbox=”true”]
Saturday, January 17, 2015
It was a scorching summer’s day that welcomed the inaugural Distant Murmurs festival at The Rosemount on Saturday afternoon. Kicking off an exciting new era, the three room extravaganza is planned to be an annual event and fundraiser put on by RTRFM showcasing the abundant and diverse local talent we have in our fair city.
The main stage kicked off with an early set from Simone and Girlfunkle, whose uptempo, poppy yet serious tunes were a beautiful opening for the room. Folk music elements permeate the song writing, providing a personal flavour which seems to bring the audience and band that much closer. The crowd began to filter in as the day kicked into gear and dulcet tones and harmony set a perfect pace for the perfectly sunny day.
The 420 Crew featuring Thursday Full Frequency’s Will Bixler kicked the whole shebang off in the sun-soaked beer garden with some chilled, laidback beats and leftfield sounds for the early crowd who braved the heat.
The Long Lost Brothers came through with a gritter sound but with equally well textured vocals as they moved through rocky numbers with a thoughtful edge. Deliberate and well paced, the brothers had a dark and bluesy element which got heads nodding.
The Cloudwaves show’s Aslan and Sleepyhead were up next and served up a set of more heavy beats and bass, as well as that underground rap and futuristic RnB sound that the weekly radio show has become known for.
As the arvo wore on and the mercury dropped, the crowd swelled with the beer garden buzzing. Jamie Mac & Eddie Electric kept the sunshine vibes flowing. The Amplifier resident DJs picked up the party vibe with some great selections as people started to get into the groove.
Following on was a special appearance from certified RTRFM legend and volunteer of over 15 years, The Whipcracker. An avid fan of dance music, and a woman who has been around long enough to see the evolution of the station to what it is now, it was great to see her get up behind the decks for a half hour set of unabashed feelgood, old school house jams in the beer garden. In first live DJ set, no one seemed to be having more fun than The Whipcracker herself as she danced away behind the decks.
Up next was the debut live performance from the mysterious Tobacco Rat. The latest production moniker from Jake Steele of Kučka fame sees Steele fully committing to his character creation. He took to the stage dressed all in white – shoes, pants, gloves and hoodie as well as sporting a freaky papier mache rat mask.
Playing his own original productions live, armed with Ableton Push and a keyboard midi controller, he unleashed the most abrasive and banging beats of the day so far, combining elements of electro, trap, classic house and techno. His music has a unique industrial edge due to his use of original samples of scrap metal. Tracks like pfunk 600 have an almost Aphex Twin kinda vibe with their driving synth lines and twisted breakbeats, though with a less sporadic vibe you can dance to. You can have your deadmau5, this is live rat, and you’ll be hearing more from this rodent soon.
The Painkillers packed a tasty acoustic style offset with smashing drums and impassioned vocals, there was a great variety to the music that took them through a cool and enjoyable set. The evening started to rev up as punters packed into The Rosemount.
Hot item Ghetto Crystals took to the stage next with their hybrid indie rock/pop vibes. With a sometimes super chill, sway inducing style to grungier, faster paced offerings, Ghetto Crystals possess an often haunting melodic quality which adds rich emotional texture to their songs.
For a funky change of pace came Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics. Categorically providing some of the best live music in Perth city, the voice of Odette Mercy is a powerful thing to feel in your chest, and the tight chemistry between her and the band create a vibrant platform for energetic, soul oriented expression.
Adem K got things fired up in the more intimate 459 Bar. There was a relatively small crowd for the man who is something of a legend in the Perth music scene, with his band Turnstyle helping to define the Perth indie-pop sound in the 90s.
Meanwhile there was another first in the beer garden as Leaving announced it was their first time playing live together. The new band impressed and their laidback, guitar based tunes providing the perfect soundtrack as the sun set. At times reminiscent of Real Estate, this casual bunch of blokes seemed to be enjoying themselves.
In a similar vein was next act Eleventeen Eston & The Conversation, also vibing on that jangly surf guitar sound, in the vein of Ducktails. Reverb and chorus soaked guitar rides alongside flourishes of sunshiney synth.
Gunns delivered layers of washed out fuzzy lines and atmospheric effects, creating an often euphoric drone, with heavily processed vocals whispering and cascading over lush ringing guitar tones. Something about the hazy summertime atmosphere of P-town is produces some absolutely fantastic garage pop, and Gunns are cresting that wave with such streamline perfection that you can almost taste the salt.
While Mei Saraswati has been producing and performing around town for several years now, she has now put together a full eight piece live band. Perhaps the most anticipated set of the evening, the crowd in the beer garden jammed in to get a spot as the band setup all of their instruments, and they didn’t disappoint.
A bundle of energy upfront, Mei effortlessly emanates soul, and oozes charisma as she throws herself around to the music. She’s modestly charming, talking in between songs at length about their meaning (like how Perth was built on wetlands on Swamp Gospel) and her thanks to RTR for their support and her appreciation at the chance to play with the full band. .
She captured the crowd and held them transfixed. While it was a bit tricky to get a vantage point in the packed beer garden, there was a real communal vibe, with the crowd surrounding the band on all sides. Playfully merging a song into Nelly’s Hot In Herre, and another into Edwyn Collin’s A Girl Like You, and finishing with the sublime Power In Ur Soul.
After an eastern states residency and support of Joelistics, Mathas is back on Perth stages with his engaging and thought provoking performances. For his performance of hit track Nourishment, he was joined by Abbe May who performs the tracks chorus. The year has been a fantastic one for Perth music across the board, and Mathas continually proves himself to be at the centre of that constant incline.
To close off the amazing day of creativity in explosive and stunning fashion was the genre tearing Naik. Incorporating countless elements of modern music production, Naik’s music combines with chaotic precision the sounds of electronica, progressive and retro guitar riffs and punchy organic percussion provided live by Brody Simpson. The visual elements of Naik’s performance are trance inducing, and there is often a cinematic dynamic to his sets that lock the listener into a stimulating journey. Moments of epic orchestral arrangements made way for funky and lose bass line oriented beats, giving a variety and inspiring consideration and movement respectively. Expect to see Naik continue to take his unique sound to the world.
RTR’s Disco Science DJs had the honours of closing out the night in the courtyard, finishing up with some upbeat funky grooves and choice cuts that kept the groove going, including Jack Doepel who’d just finished playing keys with Saraswati.
All up, a fantastic day of music and great new festival highlighting all the talent Perth has to offer.
ALFRED GORMAN AND JAMES HANLON