The Drop Festival @ 3 Oceans Winery
w/ Safia, Dune Rats, San Cisco, Holy Holy, Ruby Fields
Saturday, April 14, 2018
The first incarnation of The Drop Festival was met with a blustery, chilly evening. When it comes to music lovers, however, the meteorological conditions are usually a non-issue. In true form, thousands of Aussie music fans descended upon 3 Oceans Winery in Metricup for seven hours of high-quality national talent.
Ruby Fields kicked things off at 4pm, delivering a strong set which attracted a sizeable crowd despite its early start. The 19-year-old put forth vocals in the same vein as Courtney Barnett on tracks such as Ritalin, I Want and P Plates. You’d expect someone so young to still be unsteady on her feet and somewhat apologetically desperate to fit a mould — but there was none of that on Saturday night. With amusing quips (“Two more songs and then I can get pissed”) and confidence alike, her rockstar qualities shone through and wowed the crowd.
Fields was followed by Holy Holy, a five-piece with lashings of soulful indie rock to provide for the masses. Regardless of my inability to see (a common theme for me at gigs), the show was as beautiful as you’d expect. After the heaviness of Fields’ set, something a little softer was appreciated. Vocalist Timothy Carroll was as flawless as on recordings, even playing personal fave Sentimental and Monday. The crowd, which I expected to be less accepting of such a mellow set, sang their hearts out and gave them just as much love as the more energetic acts.
WA favourites San Cisco emerged next to rapturous applause. With new bassist Jenny Aslett in tow, the tunes were banged out as effortlessly as always. New tracks like Hey, Did I Do You Wrong? were as happily received as fan favourites like Fred Astaire and, of course, Awkward. The latter was performed at a slightly slower tempo than usual, making for an interesting touch. Drummer Scarlett Stevens seemed to be the main attraction for many, garnering many a scream of joy when introduced by singer Jordi Davieson. Another notable moment occurred when keyboardist Josh Biondillo played a notably smooth synth bit in Wash It All Away which actually left me in awe. Despite being a regular fixture in WA, San Cisco owned the night.
Dune Rats, always ones to surprise, performed to a background of cartoons of themselves: red eyes, goofy smiles and long hair everywhere. Their stoner-rock tracks were performed with ease, but I can’t say the same for their between-song banter. Slurred words and nonsensical phrases were thrown around, much to the mirth of the audience. Some of them were even lucky enough to get drenched by cans of XXXX thrown by band members. (All was fair though: they were encouraged to throw their empties back.) It was great to see 2014’s Funny Guy played amongst their newer hits like Scott Green, but it really was hard to get past their slightly obnoxious stage presence. We shouldn’t be too harsh, it is their brand after all.
Safia rounded off the night, but by this point many were human icicles, unable to absorb the world around us. A chunk of punters did start heading off to beat the rush, but the diehards remained up until the last moments. Although my state of mind wasn’t as acute as it should have been, it doesn’t take a genius to have noticed the enthusiasm towards Safia’s set. The Canberra act served up a bundle of electronic delights in front of an awesome animated backdrop, including hit track Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues. They gave the only encore of the night, egged on by a still-pumped crowd. Suffice to say, they were the perfect choice for a headline act.
Although musically The Drop did all it promised, there were a few details that made the night a tad unpleasant. The lack of hot drinks in 12 degree weather was a disappointing oversight, as was the shortage of toilets. Such seemingly small details have more of an impact on the wider enjoyment of an evening than most would realise; they certainly irked me. Nevertheless, for a first incarnation of a festival there wasn’t much more to fault with The Drop.