December 27 – 29, 2016
Sir Stewart Bovell Park, Busselton
The first day of the Southbound was super relaxed with people casually converging and making their way into the event. The chilled vibe was a good way to start the festival allowing punters to warm up and prepare themselves for the coming days of intense performances.
Tash Sultana‘s voice is mesmerising. It is one of the rawest and most naturally beautiful voices currently in the Australian music scene. Every word she sings is incredible to the senses, such a strong female performer was the perfect way to begin Southbound.
Her cool, laid back charm was a massive hit with the people as they danced along, enthralled as she performed, excitedly singing the words along with her. Performing a range of hits from her EP she gave every song her all which resonated with the audience as they returned the energy.
She performs on stage with style and charisma, entertaining everyone who watches her. Her androgynous style is unique and exciting with her plain clothes and long curly hair. Based on raw natural talent, Tash Sultana is well and truly one of the up and coming acts in Australian live music.
Tired Lion got the crowd up and moving in front of the main stage with a very energetic set. Their rather unexpected cover of Blur’s Song 2 got the crowd jumping around, moshing and shouting the famous lyrics. The crowd was in a frenzy when the band played Not My Friends and I Don’t Think You Like Me, and their excellent crowd interaction and stage presence left the audience shouting for more. If you didn’t see Tired Lion’s set at Southbound, you really missed out on a special set.
Montaigne’s choice of outfit was truly unique looking like a thousand fabric wood chips sewn together to form an oversized puffy poncho. This defines her entire performance, incredibly unique and random. Her constant movement around the stage was inspiring to watch as she threw everything she had into entertaining her fans.
Towards the beginning of her set she disappeared into the crowd shaking hands and grooving along with the lucky few fans who had made their way to the barrier.
Her execution of Fantastic Wreck was incredible as she was competing with the relentless wind, a fight she eventually won. Her incredible vocals drifted throughout the audience carrying their way well past the mosh. The song, which is best known for its haunting chorus, was not a disappointment with the live performance rivaling the record.
As she shouted ‘jump, jump’ the crowd happily obliged echoing her demands as they jumped around to the sounds of Montaigne’s beats.
British act Catfish & The Bottlemen took to the main stage in the early evening and opened with Homesick. The band experienced problems with the bass guitar during this song but handled it very professionally and singer, Van, kept the crowd engaged while the problem was being fixed.
The band played a good mix of old and new songs, and lots of crowd favourites including 7, Pacifier, Kathleen and Twice. The band ended their set with the epic tune Tyrants and Cocoon which inspired a massive sing along.
The crowd loved Catfish’s set and shouted for “one more song” and you could see on the band’s faces that they thoroughly enjoyed playing to the very excited Southbound crowd. This was another set that should not have been missed at the Southbound.
Smith Street Band had incredibly electric vibe with their rock anthems ripping through the audience.
They performed a range of their hits from their signature faced paced rock tunes to slower beats showing their versatility as performers.
Their energy was insane as they gave their set everything they had, throwing themselves behind every performance. Half way through the set lead singer, Wil Wagner, was dripping in sweat and heavily red faced.
They kept up their energy throughout the set constantly keeping the audience moving, the mosh was full of fans throwing their hands in the air and dancing maniacally to every song.
A moment of evidence of the crowd’s enjoyment was the sighting of one fan doing a ‘shoe’y’ from a croc, completely oblivious to the fact his beer was seeping through the holes in his shoe.
Tkay Maidza is a natural performer, from the moment she entered the stage wearing a full blue and red sequinned body suit, you knew she was there to party.
Despite her incredibly strong feminine voice, her personality is sweet and shy as she coyly giggles into the microphone as she talks to her fans. Given her prowess when she performs you would not expect a giggly young woman to emerge. She was so overcome by her giggles that she had to pause before being able to commence her final song.
Her vocals are so strong they and empowering as she unleashes a strong sassy voice, which adapts with every song it sings. She manages to get better as the set goes on holding the audience with each different beat.
For her final song she chose her most well known, Simulation, which she danced along too dominating the stage as she grooved from end to end enjoying every single moment. The song was amazing and the performance exceeded all expectations, which was clearly mirrored by the crowd as thousands of hands waved around to the sounds of Tkay Maidza.
She thanked the crowd saying how grateful she was that they had come to see her, before exiting she sweetly wished everyone a happy new year and bounced off stage.
SAFIA were the strongest act of day two, they were loud, fun and entertained the crowd like no other. The audience hung onto every word they sung, singing most of them in unison.
From the delivery of the first track their energy was insane. They performed a combination of newer and older hits which were all greeted with exhilaration from the adoring audience.
One of the hits performed by SAFIA was Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues which was instrumental in making them one of Australia’s hottest acts. The song was even better live with the vocals hauntingly good as they drifted over the crowd infecting everyone with excitement.
Another hit for the band is their song with Peking Duk, Take Me Over which they performed to huge roars from the audience who sung along with every word, overwhelming the band with the sound they produced.
Another good performance by the band was You Are The One, which they performed with extreme excitement, the funky vibe a refreshing change from some of their other hits.
The third day had the most exciting energy about it with the most people present out of all of the three days. People where excitedly dancing around and listening as their favourite acts performed.
The day was warmer and clearer than the other two, which seemed to satisfy the masses as well.
The set of Highasakite can only be described as hauntingly beautiful, the vocals were incredible. The songs were variable in their style with some slow and dramatic as well as some more upbeat pop tunes.
The Norwegian band were solid throughout the set, doing every song justice. Their on stage presence is fun as they move around the stage with style and personality. As an audience member you could tell they were enjoying the performance just as much as the crowd.
One of the strengths of the set was the ability to use the bass to excite the crowd but not overwhelm the band, their balance of vocals and music was perfect allowing everything to be heard and enjoyed.
The strongest song from a vocal standpoint was Keep That Letter Safe, that showcased the extreme control of singer, Ingrid Helene Håvik, being able to hold her notes beautifully.
Some other hits that the band performed where Golden Ticket, which had a strong bass line that had the crowd going wild. For the final song they performed Lover, Where do You Live? This is a slower hit but still holding a strong excitable beat. The final song created a strong audience reaction with lots of dancing and singing taking place in the mosh.
San Cisco was overall the strongest set of the entire festival, despite a rocky start to their performance.
The first song was almost impossible to hear over the overwhelming bass, which was uncomfortably loud. You could hear pretty much nothing above the beat as it overcame all senses with the ground shaking from the bass’s strength.
After the difficult start San Cisco managed to correct the issue turning down the bass and increasing the microphones volume. The second song, About You was much better with the incredible talent of the front man finally being able to be heard over the sound of the bass.
They talked about the significance of Southbound to them, as they performed one of their first ever festival shows at Southbound many years earlier, kickstarting their career as a band.
Their stage presence is slightly awkward which is refreshing to see but still very entertaining, lead singer Jordi Davieson, was a huge hit with audience with them chanting his name at one stage during the performance.
During one of the earlier songs Jordi introduced all the members of the band that made the audience engage with them on a more personal level.
All the hits where there, Beach, Golden Revolver, Jealousy, Too Much Time Together, Mistakes, Run, Slow Mo and for the final song Fred Astaire.
The songs showed variety, with some slow in tempo and vocally strong whilst others we upbeat, relying more on the band, where each member was allowed to show off their abilities and talents which was good to see.
The mosh stood still waiting for Peking Duk to grace the stage and the crowds gathered quickly at the rear in anticipation for the final act of the festival. The screens finally lit up and in a surprise twist everyone was greeted with the face of David Hasslehoff introducing Peking Duk to the stage.
After Hassehoff disappeared, the familiar sound of High emanated from the speakers, which triggered the audience and had everyone jumping around, Peking Duk finally made their way onto the stage receiving roars from the audience.
The set was strange only consisting of around four original songs and the rest being remixes of various famous songs, some which were frankly completely odd choices.
At one point the duo chose to perform the Tears For Fears classic Shout, which amped up the crowd but was a rather strange choice, which they then proceeded to remix into an even stranger song.
The performance of their latest hit Stranger was incredible, with the crowd screaming the lyrics loudly whilst jumping up and down just as enthusiastically. The song was a perfect rendition of the popular hit and it was great to see such energy from the duo as they performed it.
There were also large amounts of nudity with one man standing upon his friend’s hands and proceeding to get completely naked which received an impressed shout out by the duo.
For their final song Peking Duk pulled out all stops welcoming out a special guest to assist them in their final performance. Immediately the sound of High came on and the audience went wild screaming and jumping around. Nicole Millar appeared on stage, introduced by Peking Duk, immediately the crowd were at an all time high prepared for what was sure to be the best performance of the set.
What ensued was a live re-enactment of the song which made number two on the triple J hottest 100 of 2015 and won over thousands of fans. The live version was great but it was a bit hard to hear Millar over the sound of the backing track, which was slightly disappointing.
Half way through the song Peking Duk called for all the men in the audience to grab a girl and put them on their shoulders that everyone did. For the remainder of the song hundreds of girls where seen dancing from upon shoulders enjoying the final song of the festival.
CLAUDIA MOORE & KIERRA POLLOCK
Photos by Paul Dowd Photography