For as long as I can remember, Oxford Art Factory has been a haven for local artists to show off their talent; especially in the indie music community. Even for OFA, Rare Finds has managed to pull off an extraordinary line-up in celebration of its 1 year anniversary as an independent boutique PR agency and record label. A slew of Aussie artists including veterans Deep Sea Arcade and Lime Cordiale are a part of this showcase as well as a meet and greet with Hockey Dad and CREO in honour of Record Day.
Even though Oxford Art Factory was filling with an atmosphere of anticipation for the incredible lineup to come, much of the attention was rationed out to the gallery bar and booths rather than the stage. To be fair; little creatures were selling for $6 each. Enter Ross Henry. The Sydney based producer/artist kicked off musical proceedings and shifted the vibe towards the stage with a unique crop of dreamy electronic rhythms. The standout track was ‘Home’; a chilled out tiramisu of eclectic beats that Henry had left his personal mark on. The result was an air of intimacy that left the crowd with a sense of closure of what a solid opening act could create.
A switch of stages to the main room meant the introduction of grunge/post-rock band Hedge Fund. The selection of bass lines and drum rhythms was like fine dining without the bill. In the prime of their Summer’s Getting Shorter tour, the lads from Sydney inscribed their psychedelia sound into the brains of the OAFies. At times, the speakers were overwhelmingly loud for engaged new listeners to follow the lyrics however the songs themes were definitely heard through the bands body language. When lead member Will Colvin banished his shirt from the stage, in homage of the General Pants clothing support, the crowd mirrored his contagious enthusiasm. The pick of the songs were “Object of my Affection” and “Summer’s getting Shorter” in which the latter is a catchy anthem immersed with Aussie nostalgia.
Narrabeen native and Indie Soul artist, Billy Fox finally answered the age old question; what does the fox say?! Seriously though, jokes aside, Fox channelled a wistful trance through both guitar hooks and keyboard coupled with tasteful lyrics reflecting on Australian lifestyle. Observing, you get the opinion this stuff comes easy to him when it really shouldn’t. His mesmerizing falsetto against the backdrop of melancholic melodies allowed the audience to digest the lyrics with ease; particularly in the track “East Coast”. Fox’s performance was not far removed from Lorde, minus the strange dancing.
It’s hard to stick 2015’s breakthrough act Owen Rabbit in a genre. He mash’s any sound he can get his Melbournian hands onto and turns them into quality music. Throughout the set, he used an intertwining of alternative beats and rhythms to seduce the crowd into dance. The banter between artist and audience during the set typified his unique stage presence, reminding everyone that this was a party. Crowd favourite “Denny’” was an introspective window into Rabbit’s head which reminded everyone that this celebration was full of friends. We hope the party goes on for the rest of 2016 and beyond for Mr. Rabbit.
Sydney’s Lime Cordiale swept through last year conquering the country, selling out shows abroad and at home including recently at the Metro Theatre during their third EP, Road to Paradise. When they clambered onto the main stage it was clear through their confident and cheeky demeanour that they were going to enjoy themselves. The tantalizing surf rock riffs and catchy drum patterns made it stress-free for the crowd to sing along; especially to killer singles such as “Hanging Upside Down”. The set was full of enthusiasm and the crowd had really warmed to all the artists by now. The veterans had showed the up and comers how to smash out thirty minutes of sensational music.
Lily & The Bellows have gigged their fair share of music over the past few years and for Rare Finds to have this band play was a greatly desired birthday present. Lily hugged the crowd with her angelic vocals and elegant composure. She was reminiscent of a young Amy Winehouse, with a touch less jazz and throngs more rock appeal. A good example of this was during “Smoking Gun” which echoed in the voices of the crowd on the back of some catchy percussion and bass rhythms. She melted at least one heart during the night.
It’d be the first live performance for Deep Sea Arcade this year in this type of intimate setting. Whilst Rare Finds were doing a bang up job with the Sydney indie music community; Deep Sea Arcade were busy in the studio creating their upcoming sophomore album, so some nerves were present as many of the songs of the night would be freshies. When the five warriors stepped into the arena, in front of a packed OFA, the band slayed the shit out of the 70’s, beachy, psychedelic rock that saw them perform worldwide. The ethereal influence of Nic McKenzie’s vocals hung like a hammock on supports of riffs and simple yet effective drum lines. A carefully placed guitar hook entrapped the audience into the music without resistance as the chorus rode its wave. The best example of these tried and true methods was in “Granite”, catchy as it was iconic of Australian music.
A wise man once told me that the sign of a killer night is the subsequent hangover, boy was my head splitting on Sunday! Happy Birthday Rare Finds!