Yours & Owls has put its hand up as a contender for this year’s best summer festival. Even if it is one of the first cabs off the rank. This year they proved that a festival doesn’t have to be 50,000 strong to encapsulate the big festival atmosphere. The coastal town of Wollongong was transformed to accommodate hoards of revelers, young and old, looking to get their grubby mitts on one thing. Quality music!
Tired Lion delivered a snakebite to start the day, injecting venom into their set which took its effect alarmingly quick. The crowd quickly jaunted to their unique stylings of indie rock. Excitement poured over faces as their tune ‘Suck’ poured out across Stuart Park. Eager ears also leant in to listen to a few new songs with a punk-rock vibe that we should hope to see down the road. Finishing off with ‘I Don’t Think You Like Me’, (who knows where they got that impression from) they kicked the festival into full swing.
Following a short exploration of the festival and a bit of careful sleuthing around the food stalls, we headed back to the second stage to find four sisters rocking out in the form of Stonefield. These Findlay girls seemed hellbent on making waves in the coastal town, pumping out old favourites, as well as a host of songs from their new album As Above, So Below which had many members of the crowd asking themselves, “why can’t my family be this cool?”
Following their set, we legged it on over to the main stage in time to see Remi. Feeding the Wollongong onlookers a big ol’ spoonful of songs from his new album Divas and Demons. Everyone lit up like a bunsen burner in a year 9 science class. The energy was electric with ‘Substance Therapy’ striking a huge chord with fans.
Kilter followed giving many punters their first taste of EDM for the day. Nobody’s joints were stiff though as Kilter jumped from instrument to instrument and strength to strength. It’s safe to say a few heads nearly fell off their shoulders from excessive movement during his set
There was little time to compose ourselves as we awaited Client Liaison. Just as the dopamine levels were coming back to a safe level, two shimmering Adonises appeared on the stage. For a band that seems to thrive on the spectacle rather than musical prowess, Client Liaison were sonically tight in their set delivery. Packing fans in like peanuts for ‘World of our Love’, causing sweat to drip frequently and mouths to ferment with excitement.
Local heroes Hockey Dad followed with a rousing set in front of a group of fans that are no strangers to surf-pop. Let’s just say that every second bloke had chucked a “shukka” or two in their lifetime. Which was excellent as everyone danced on with a passionate intensity that saw long hair dance in the wind and wristbands raised high in the air. Producing a level of noise that seems beyond fathomable for a two man band, every song off of their debut album Boronia seemed to mimic, or build on the vigour of the last.
Next on stage, and my personal favourites of the night, The Jezabels saw to it that eyes stayed wide open. Hayley Mary’s voice kept the senses on high alert as everyone seemed captivated by her, and the support from the rest of the band who would set steady tempos which eventually culminated in well-earned climaxes. Following their recent hardships, it was exciting to see the top-tier Australian band finally getting to perform off the back of their album Synthia. The excitement and passion were hard to contain on ‘My Love Is My Disease’, for both the crowd and the band.
Ball Park Music closed out the night and did well to keep the energy levels high for a lot of festival-goers who were ready for bed. Singalongs seemed like the best cure as the crowd joined in the chorus’s, conveying harmonies that leapt out across the ocean.
Ok, that’s enough of that, off to bed.
Sunday came and so did the signature Wollongong heat. No one seemed to notice the hour of sleep that had gone begging on the back of daylight savings. Possibly overshadowed by a keen excitement to catch more live music.
Little May began the day for many, enticing people away from the beaches and into the festival. The versatile Little May would go from a charming indie-rock trio and then transform into a much louder indie rock outfit. Harnessing rising harmonies and careful instrumentals which caused crowd members to rise to their tippy-toes. ‘Hide’ was a standout, but it’s hard to look past their cover of the Icehouse hit ‘Great Southern Land’.
The young songstress Vera Blue was up next, and if you weren’t aware she was playing, you were quickly alerted. She has a set of pipes that won’t quit. Her voice could easily lure fisherman along the coastline into the stony shores just for a closer listen. Hitting notes that don’t seem humanly possible, Celia Pavey had her talent laid out for all to see. On ‘Settle’ for example, she would hit a pitch that would pierce the ears, yet still sound fantastic.
Now, If you’ve come across a bad Big Scary live performance, I’d like to speak to you, because I’m not sure they exist. Tom lansek and Joanna Syme just have it down-pat. They showcased songs from their new album Animal, its alt-pop stylings being a definite departure from the indie-rock and soulful ballads they’ve produced in the past. The crowd responded with awe anyway, proving the genre-defying band to be one of the best of the festival.
The boys from Skegss switched the flavours of the day again, bringing their high-tempo surfer rock to the gong. A haze of guitars and drums helped to carve out a pit in the crowd which produced one of the best “stacks-on” I’ve ever seen. With fans eagerly jumping on each other, it was one way to funnel the mass amount of energy produced by the Byron Bay three piece.
DMA’s continued to show why they’ve achieved success at home and internationally. Having a breakout couple of years and a ripper album come out this year the expectations were high. They didn’t disappoint, with their technical prowess shining through on ‘Lay It Down’. ‘Delete’ proved to be one of the biggest uptakes in crowd participation for the night. Thousands instinctively bellowed the chorus, telling no one in particular “Don’t delete my baby”. The Sydney boys looked at home – or at least close to it.
With the night coming to an end who else could round it out but Hermitude. A staple of the Australian musical diet that never gets old (Vegemite), they delivered banger after banger. People were picking their limbs up off the ground just to fling them violently into the air again, and each festival-goer tried to carve out their own space for maximum “groovedge”. Of course, they asked us “do you feel the buzz” and we all replied with bounces and nods likeable to a child on his fourth creaming soda for the day. What a way to finish.