festival review: festival of the sun, day one, dec 9 2011
While thongs are normally a rookie mistake, the sand lined moshpit was ideal for traversing through the sand and even barefoot dancing. As clouds threatened on both days of the festival, it didn’t seem to dampen the spirit of Port Macquarie locals. More surfboards than t-shirts, everyone looked more suited to a day at the beach rather than a music festival.w=width h=height]Sand, sun and music. The Port Macquarie festival is different to most other festivals on the Australian summer calendar. The first in a long line of what will always be an amazing summer, Festival of the Sun has its own distinctive laidback atmosphere.
Day One: Friday Ninth
The PixieKills were the first band to kick off the festival and they were clearly having the time of their life. Their upbeat brand of music was perfect for the laidback nature of the festival. The Port Macquarie band had a high energy set and were a sign of things to come in the festival.
The Brisbane reggae duo The Lyrical came next on the acoustic stage. It’s obvious that the pair have had experience entertaining a crowd. Their song rang out “They say I’m a busker, you know that they’re wrong, I am a rockstar”, and the crowd quickly picked up all their songs. The punters responded wildly to a rousing rendition of ‘I just can’t wait to be king’ as The Lyrical finished their all too short set.
With the sound of bongos finishing up on the acoustic stage, tattoo clad, front man for King Cannons, Luke Yeoward, walked out. Port Macquarie locals took quickly to the reggae-like first song. They got the crowd clapping to their song ‘Take the Rock’. Their sound was versatile. There was no shortage of cow bell and percussive showcases in ‘Smoked Out City’ and ‘Stand Right Up’, which fit in with the fun atmosphere previously set by The Lyrical.
Wielding a 12 string guitar, Blake Noble walked out next onto the acoustic stage. Looking mildly timid as he looked out to the crowd, it was in no way reflected in his guitar playing. Rapid and fast paced, the one man played an array of guitar/tapping solos, including song ‘Tsunami’. The crowd seemed to appreciate his talent as a guitarist and he fed off their energy.
The rowdy festival goers demanded more of Nobel as Young Revelry took to the stage. The Perth three man band came out with the heavier sound of the day. While the FOTS-ians seemed to appreciate their self-described ‘garageish’ sound, it seemed misplaced, especially after the entertaining sets from the previous bands.
Colin Moore took the festival revellers for the next twenty minutes. With the heavier sound of Young Revelry still reverberating in peoples ears, Moore’s set was more subdued. His husky voice crooned ‘Time goes by’, and harmonica solos punctuated ‘Three fat Pills’. While his set was solid, it seemed lost on the crowd.
FLOATINGME was another heavier band on the bill. Intense and rapid playing, accompanied by front man Andrew Gillespie’s wild eyes, it was a definite change again from the other bands of the day. Knowing very little about the band, their live performance was an ideal introduction to their Butterfly Effect/Dead Letter Circus-like sound. The festival goers seemed ready to mosh, and I pitied/envied anyone right at the front.
Art vs Science came out to rapturous chanting. It was obvious who the crowd were there to see. Playing their first festival in Australia in months after touring around the world, the trio didn’t disappoint the punters. ‘Friend in the Field’ got the masses jumping, while ‘Gay bar?’ was met with anthemic singing. Spontaneous remixing punctuated the set, with ‘Shut up Johnny’ keeping the crowd entertained. ‘Parlez vous francais?’, the song that launched them to superstardom came relatively early in the set. A search for bumblebee get ups saw audience members dancing around on stage to ‘Bumblebee’. The only minor problem with their excellent set was the time they took to slow songs right down to do solos. Although extremely talented, the energy in the mosh they had so skilfully brought up was lost as they took time to do their solos. The FOTS-ians didn’t seem to mind though. Closing with “the first song we ever wrote as a band“, ‘Flippers’ was a fitting end to day’s festivities.
Stay tuned for Day Two’s review!
Photos credit: Ellise Cummings and Angelique Lu