Until now, 2016 has been an infuriating drag for Sydney-siders. With the ever-increasing closure of clubs and venues – the lockout laws have well succeeded at depriving citizens of one, simple, god-given pleasure: a night out on the town. The good news is that live music venues are soon to be exempt from the lockout zones. To celebrate, Volumes 2016 revived Sydney dance floors with two days of roaring festivities.
A collaborative effort between artists, labels, and venues; Volumes is a mini-festival that supports and presents emerging and exciting local artists. An accomplished range of artists completed the billing, presenting stoner pop all the way through to psychedelic rock.
Kicking off the evening slot, Nicholas Allbrook’s (formerly of Tame Impala and currently, Pond) eccentric presence wooed the entire room into wanting more. The set list, which included both old and new material, unveiled echoey vocals in a performance so delectably raw and organic.
Unity Floors proved that you don’t need more than two guys to turn up the volume. Gus Hunt and Henry Gosling played hard, fast punk/surf rock and the crowd responded barbarously. The duo sped through their opening songs, with vigor and concentration, communicating the raw simplification that one would want from a rock duo.
Wax Witches maintained the rage. With the youthful recklessness that frontman, Alex Wall (formerly of Bleeding Knees Club) and his band use to glide through stoner rock tunes; they covered gentle topics such as getting wasted, smoking cigs and hooking up with randoms. Shamelessly so. And their opener (and latest single) ‘Danny Delete’ is one hell of a punk jam. Its mobility and fluidity bares how much potential can be found in the simple but bullseye nature of Wax Witches arrangements.
The much talked about Mossy not only marked the night’s midway point, he also became the focal point. As the subject singularly lit, Mossy’s surrounding musicians were kept hauntingly in the dark until the third song. His alt-pop eeriness culminated at the strike of ‘Electric Chair’ with a feverish crescendo of loud guitars and synths.
The Volumes 2016 headline slot went to Melbourne duo, Slum Sociable – and rightly so. Fusing easy-going reggae and indie pop, the band consists primarily of Edward Quinn (production, guitars, keys) and Miller Upchurch (vocals, percussion) but are joined live by drummer Ryan Beasley and bassist Dylan Savage. The 45-minute set ushered a galvanized dance floor and hit single, ‘Anyway’ lived up to its Spotify fame with chic piano lines and progressive beats.
Closing a night that featured a superb cast of frontmen, Upchurch took gold. From body rolls to flailing arms, he was dropping moves and slinging spectacularly lush vocals – whilst never letting go of his scarlet tambourine. Slum Social’s rendition of Kanye west’s ‘Runaway’ revealed the band’s vast musical palette and spread of style. This particular arrangement of chilling piano and lucid lyrics about uncontrolled emotions was quite unforgettable.