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State Of The Art

gyroscope_state_of_art_pch_wyliepic_6_13_21Perth Concert Hall Precinct
Sunday, June 2, 2013

It was a lazy Sunday Afternoon with a new chill in the air. Something felt new as the Concert Hall precinct basked in brilliant sunshine. It could have been the music, but ‘now’ would be a better way to describe the abundant lineup that made up the second State Of The Art music festival.

Adding an extra prescience to the Welcome To Country was Fitzroy Xpress, who played a sterling set to a still-building crowd then got immediately into a van to drive to a gig in Port Hedland. That’s Western Australian right there, people!

And while you got the feeling that many folks had made their own trek down south or somesuch for the WA Day Long Weekend, numbers at the event slowly grew all day. It’s a big area, in and around the Perth Concert Hall, but even as a few sparse spots appeared according to the flow of foot traffic to various stages, there was always a feeling of agreeability in the air and, for that matter, admiration of the WA acts that were performing.

Whether that was the lesson in western blues from Dave Hole and Chain inside the Concert Hall, tribal oddments suffused in the pop rock of Cow Parade Cow, Timothy Nelson and violinist Hayley-Jane Eyre’s gently humorous and eminently likeable set over at the Riverside Stage (good luck with that WAAPA audition, by the way) or Day Of The Dead unveiling a new bass player and painting the spaghetti western by way of blue washes of surf music, a short walk between stages provided a near continental drift of styles and genres.

Grace Woodroofe played an exquisite set down by the Riverside.  Along with a Stratocaster, she mesmerised her audience with older songs such as Transformer, newer material in Eliteless and even a version of Linda Ronstadt’s Ooh Baby Baby, all of it played with heart and old soul.

Over at the St George’s II stage Mmhhmm’s electronic grooves were winning over a small legion, notably one snake-hipped young hipster boy into paroxysms – he should hereby declare himself their Fanclub President.

The very welcomed Schvendes performed to a reverent few in the large, inner climes of the Concert Hall. It must have been hard to play to that kind of number in that sort of surrounding, but their songs such as Small Mercies, Sweet Graves and Turn Out Your Lights were well suited to its grandeur.

The Riverside Stage often saw performers we can now describe as elder statesmen take to the boards away from their well-known bands. Both Bob Evans and Kav Temperley exuded great charm and a real sense of showbiz, shedding light on old tunes and clearly performing in order to entertain the very young and the reasonably old. And yes, there was plenty of both.

Meanwhile Usurper Of Modern Medicine were whacking it out of the precinct, not so much showbusiness as shoutbusiness. It was great to hear that racket soar down the Terrace.  44th Sunset followed, full of  exuberance, but perhaps a little too outwardly moody due to the unfortunate sound glitches they battled under. Still, by the time they aired the triple j favoured Caesar, the going was good all ‘round.

As Abbe May proved her mastery of both stage and (new) genre in the Concert Hall, The Chemist revelled in the full concert production on the main St George’s stage. It was all going on outdoors at this point, with subsequent sets from the diverse closing triumvirate of The Weapon Is Sound (hot damn!), Sons Of Rico and ever popular warhorses Gyroscope amping up the celebrations nicely. Meanwhile Karnivool were closing the Concert Hall in mighty fashion, leaving it to the Riverside Stage to bring the night to a polar opposite turntablist ending with the work of the one and only Greg Packer.

An estimated 5,000 people turned out for State Of The Art, an encouraging number. When you consider though, that up to 40,000 people head to AFL games in Perth each weekend, it’d sure be nice to reach some of those folks too in an event that is basically an all-ages lightning carnival of the best of WA music.
See you next year, punters.

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