The Essential Festival was all a go go yesterday/last night in Surry Hills and I had a great and somewhat tiring time. I got there in the late afternoon, and the vibe was nice and relaxed and indie, which suited me fine. It was a very well timed festival, every band had to start and finish at a certain time, so a lot of the sets seemed rather short (about 30 mins). Although, all the bands were sneaky in that their “last songs” appeared to go twice as long.
The Dolly Rocker Movement were the first band that I caught, and I really dug them. They have this 60’s west coast sound to them, with some Mama’s and Papa’s vocal work tucked in there. I was half ready to light up some joss sticks by the end of their all too short set. And as an added bonus they covered Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine!! I caught the end of Pomomofo, who sound like a cross between Wolf & Cub and The Presets, I would have liked to see more of them and in an later more appropriate time-slot. The crowd watching them was pretty sparse, but dancing away all the same
Next on the list were The Lovetones, who play melodic indie pop rock, with 60’s sensibilities. Much in the same vein as Belles Will Ring. Up the stairs to the top of the Gaelic club to see Teenagersintokyo, playing their screamy/indie/drum propelled rock to a packed out room. Which seemed to go down very well with the crowd. And me.
Catching the end of The Exploders set, having only heard a couple of their more poppy songs on the radio I was suitably impressed with their raw garage rock sound. After which I hiked back up stairs to see Belles Will Ring, who I’ve been enjoying at home, and heard good things about live. They were great, however their set had a few technical problems, and from where I was standing up front it sounded as though the speakers had blown, which made for some fuzzy listening.
Downstairs, I caught the last two songs by Young and Restless, who I saw a couple of months ago, and what I heard didn’t seem to justify the hype. I am pleased to say Karen O/Yeah Yeah Yeahs comparisons aside, that I will eat my words, because they absolutely blew me and my ears away, and I was disappointed that I hadn’t caught the rest of the set.
I skipped Peabody to check out Bit by Bats, who have been getting some press hype recently, who were fairly well known by the indie crowd, they definitely seem to be channeling a Joy Division sound. Next up were Dappled Cities Fly, who I hadn’t manage to catch since 2005, and seem to be even tighter and better than I remembered. I also hadn’t previously heard the stuff off their newer album Granddance, and it was really cool to hear the crowd sing the entire set-list back at the band. I really love Dappled Cities Fly, and not just because I heart Tim, or their infectious rock pop, but the way that their music makes the crowd visibly happy.
Leaving the Gerling fans to get their spots, I and it seemed like the rest of the cool kids, went upstairs to check out raw and rocking indie/pop/punk band Children Collide, after hearing good things about them all day, I was grateful I listened loudly! Put it simply, this band fucking rocked. Second song in I was wanting to make like cunt and pogo around, I will most definitely be checking them out again. Soon I hope.
Final band of the evening was Gerling, who I also hadn’t seen for a couple of years, and were playing their last show for the year. By george Gerling were so good they had grown men touching themselves and crowd surfing at the same time. They did an awesome encore instrumental version of Ghost Patrol, which had the crowd singing the lyrics instead. But by that stage in the dancing Gerling pit I was getting rather tired, and let me tell you it was a slow walk back to the bus stop getting accosted by loonies.
I got some dreadful photos from the day, so I look forward to uploading them in my flickr sometime this week. However those walls, your ears got some great essential festival shots. Well worth a look.
<Off- topic: I know I’ve been a bit long winded with my words, in this here blog, so I am making more of an effort to be a tad more concise.>