WAMFest Live Saturday @ Various Venues
Saturday, November 4, 2017
WAM’s biggest annual showcase event may no longer by called the Saturday Spectacular (RIP), but it’s still arguably the biggest single celebration of WA music on a single day each year, taking over venues all over the city from the late arvo till the wee hours of the following morning.
And it just so happened that this Saturday was the perfect day for an inner city WAMFest Live, with beautiful weather, a new Lot Party venue between Wellington and Roe Streets and plenty of bands to discover.
Things kicked off at the Lot Party with Sydnee Carter playing some lovely acoustic tunes to the small crowd that was already gathered despite the heat, and Sly Withers, with some very Smith Street Band style Oz rock songs that saw them win over new fans.
Flossy were loved by the crowd, now getting bigger, with their excellent femme-punk grunge tunes and ‘born to be on stage’ presence, and likewise up and coming singer-songwriter (and recent WAMAward winner) Carla Geneve also put on a wonderful set and was an early drawcard among those in the know, with her uniquely Australian and powerful vocals stealing the show, despite suffering with illness.
Local favourite Lucy Peach was next to take the stage and her and her band’s experience really showed as they put on a very professional, high quality performance, while Sam Perry‘s one man show left plenty with their jaws on the floor and was a nice change up to proceedings early.
Rag n’ Bone made use of the lights as the sun started to disappear and smashed it out of the park from their opening tune Last Kind Words onwards. Lilt played great dream pop reminiscent of The xx and London Grammar – they even did an excellent cover of the latter, playing Hey Now as if it was their own.
WAMAwards golden girl and clear favourite Stella Donnelly wowed as always with her incredible voice, powerful songs, and funny dialogue between songs. It was easy to see why she took out so many Awards this year, Boys Will Be Boys clearly being recognised now as one of 2017’s best songs.
Ziggy Ramo probably earned the most new fans with his incredible flow and a brilliant live band accompanying him. Ramo bounced around the stage but barely seemed out of breath. Next up were BOAT SHOW, who were fun, as always, to watch. Their energy is infectious, and their songs likely to be stuck in your head, even the new songs the band showed off from an upcoming second album early 2018. Few WA bands have had as big a 2017 as these guys.
The Southern River Band strutted onstage next with their amps blaring guitar solos as loudly as their attire. The crowd bounced through a set of ‘classic rock’ inspired tunes, enjoying the bombastic, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek display.
Heavy hitting rockers FOAM played a well-received set that showcased just how great they have become. Headliners Psychedelic Porn Crumpets really brought the wow factor and played an excellent showcase to close the Lot Party. Clear crowd favourites, the Crumpets closed the festival’s outdoor component with a bang.
Just across the road, punters enjoyed a more cosy environment complemented by an eclectic selection of some the state’s finest electronic and experimental artists. Hi. Ok, Sorry. were one of the highlights of the night with a warm and textural sound, sending the room into a hazy groove. The two-piece used their staircase of synthesisers to play off against each other in a set that was well-rehearsed yet still coloured with improvisation and pulsing bass lines as deep as the sea.
Brand spanking new Wolf Lane venue, The Sewing Room got an influx of punters as The Lot finished up. Curious eyes navigated down the lane and in through the towering wooden doors to descend into the basement style venue. Shiney and impressive like a new coin, The Sewing Room boasts a large 45 degree corner stage and ample sound system. The long bar made for easy and quick refreshment access, $5 Exports are always a plus for any venue in my book. The Floors rounded out the live band set with their signature dirty blues rock before DJs Will Bixler and Rok Riley ushered in the after party and welcomed punters to the dance floor.
Meanwhile, things were heaving over at Badlands, where some of the day’s biggest sets were played. Next door in the tiny Hen House Live room, Good Doogs proved WA’s answer to Dune Rats, while the fat instrumental jazz sounds of Grievous Bodily Calm were an early highlight.
Later, Ryan Beno (formally Late Night Hysterics) brought a swelling post rock feel to proceedings, as they gathered around a light bulb – a nifty stage set piece. “Which one is Ryan?” called out one cheeky punter.
Salary closed off the Hen House Live stage but the real action was happening next door on the big Badlands stage, where Candy Guts and Demon Days strutted their stuff early to impressed punters. But from the time Pat Chow took over, featuring an assortment of special guests including Rag n’ Bone’s Axel Carrington, it was starting to pack out and Badlands was becoming the success story of the day. Pat Chow’s segue from Bad Thoughts into The Knife’s Heartbeats was a highlight.
Headliners Childsaint, and then The Love Junkies, played to what must have been close to capacity crowds. The latter even had some proper stage diving and crowd surfing as they tore through a ripping set of their favourites, the icing on the WAMi cake of another spectacular WAMFest, where as ever, the winner was local music.
KIERRA POLLOCK, BRAYDEN EDWARDS, ANTHONY JACKSON & HARVEY RAE
Photos by Contagious Media