Tropical Fuck Storm @ Chevron Gardens
w/ FingerFingerrr, The Trees & The Wild
Sunday, February 18, 2018
With diversity being the key to the success of Chevron Gardens, the halfway point of this year’s schedule offered up a night of cutting edge rock and roll in an array of post rock poses.
From the word go, Indonesian post rockers The Trees & The Wild filled the Gardens space with their esoteric mix of space-echoed guitars, drawn-out synths and tribal-like drumming. As the first act on, the five members grouped together in front of the headliners’ risers and amps, which, when combined with the cool blue tone and generally sparse lighting (that built as the music did), gave the proceedings a cult-like feel. The nodding, shadowy figures ploughed through a catalogue of epic rises and falls. Led by singer Remedy Waloni’s breathy vocals, the band was a well-versed unit moving in sync with one another that that could have been the main attraction any other day of the week.
Brazilian duo FingerFingerrr then took the stage and shifted things up a gear. The set began with bassist/guitarist Flavio Juliano walking to the front of the stage, bass slung low and feeding back into the amp, gesturing for the crowd to come forward and feel the noise, as drummer Ricardo Cifas produced a coordinated racket to lead the duo into the single Eu So Ganho.
Requesting audience participation, the duo had the crowd quickly learning Portuguese, “Eu So Ganho, Eu Nao Tehno” roughly translating to “I only win, I do not have”. Moving quickly through songs from their debut LP, Mar, they wanted more from the crowd and, not missing a note, Juliano jumped from the stage into the crowd, bringing the mic stand and mic with him.
Leaving the mic stand on the ground, he pounced back on stage with a leap that should have the Brazilian Olympic high jump team knocking on his door. Juliano urged punters to come forward and join in the show by singing into the mic. This was impressively taken up by a local lad with quite the sweet set of lungs (none other than Brandon Wilks, of local band Shaus), as the party atmosphere began to ripple through the increasing crowd.
The next trick in the bag for the group was less obvious but just as incredible, as Ricardo, continuing to keep the beat and provide vocals from behind his kit, started playing keyboards with his right hand in a remarkable display of dexterity.
In a set of many highlights, the group’s psych-drenched and playfully-lurching number Make You See shone, the sheer, balls-out rock of Qiem Te Convidou shook, the b-boy groove of Rollz Royce bounced and the reprise of Eu So Ganho, which included more crowd participation, was pounding.
Now it was time to once again go up another gear, and Tropical Fuck Storm were more than up to the task. Featuring Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin from The Drones, Erica Dunn from Harmony and Lauren Hammel from High Tension, the group navigated a setlist of brand new songs, covers and re-worked numbers. First song up was the awesome B-side Lose the Baby, a cover of the Lost Animal classic, which quickly gave way to the trippy-beats and slanted guitars of second single Chameleon Paint.
Announcing third song Animated Owl as “a new song” before then realising, “well, they’re all new songs, aren’t they?”, Gareth Liddiard was in a happy and fun mood, asking locals if they recalled the “G’day from WA” tourist advertising campaign of the late 80s, noting how odd it seemed that it was only West Australians who seemed to need the lesson to “just say hello rather than being a right cunt to tourists”.
After storming through a marvelous version of Fugazi’s Burning, the group really opened the floodgates with a slightly slowed-down and re-worked version of The Drones’ Taman Shad. With Gareth spitting out the politically-charged lyrics, emotions began to flow and the crowd responded by letting their hair down and really getting into the swing of things. The equally emotionally-charged combo of You Let My Tyres Down and Soft Power were very well received, with the latter particularly hitting home thanks to the dual female back up vocals hitting in unison and creating an eerie reverberation around the venue.
The final blow was delivered via The Drones’ rocker Baby Squared, which had all and sundry bopping and singing along. Smiles radiated and a shared, communal joy could be felt among patrons, certainly due to the talent on stage, but also in a sense of gratitude to the venue and festival itself. Perth Festival’s continued ability to assemble such unique and diverse line ups from all over the world, such as this, really hit a bullseye on this night.
MICHAEL D HOLLICK
Photos by Rachael Barrett