Gigs Reviews

REVIEW: RTRFM’s Winter Music Festival

Reviewed By Jake Eckersley

Image Credit Kieran MacFarlane

Jeepers, covering this event was a monolithic task for a slightly inebriated, pen and pad wielding mortal such as I. The show spanned across four venues with six stages and hundreds of people were in attendance. There were hallway parties, hoards of wanderers and outrageous lines. The best I can do is to give you a recollection of the events that unfolded throughout my evening. My enchanting journey started at the car park out the front of Mojo’s at around 7:00 where just next to us, a busker was kicking off – remember that guy.

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Commotion began instantly when I was hit with my first dilemma of the evening. A rookie friend with no ticket had accompanied me and reports were indicating that she might struggle to acquire one. While I was waiting at the Railway Hotel, she shot off to fetch one from the Swan Lounge, boasting a comparatively shorter wait and met me as I was getting in only to find out I had an extra door spot for her. Thus shifting the dynamics of our friendship and making me the newly crowned rookie king.

We walked in to the sounds of jazz/rap fusion band Koi Child. All I can say is that these dudes killed it. Actually no, I can say more. Their set was such a whimsical display of excellent musicianship. The seven-piece with a three-man horn section ripped through a set riddled with time changes, arousing sax solos and intricate bass lines and drumbeats, all executed flawlessly. A real testament to the intense commitment these guys obviously have towards music. Vocalist Cruz Patterson was a genius; far superior to anything like this I’ve seen in Perth as of late. His lyrics flowed brilliantly and he had clever feel and understanding for when he should just let the band go off on its own.

Although his style was very individual, the rapping was reminiscent of a young Lupe Fiasco and had the crowd jamming so damn hard. The openers gave the room a feel like an intimate little New York jazz bar, although intimate was far from the case as the venue was packed out almost immediately after doors were opened, a show of the crowd’s undeniable love for these guys.

I stayed at the Railway to watch the reverb heavy guitar pop of The Dianas’ and man, those guys had some delicious harmonies. My ears were oozing with lust for the vocals as soon as the trio began their set. It’s obvious vocalists Nathalie Pavlovic and Caitlin Moloney had really put some time and effort into their harmonies. Rather than being slapped together as an afterthought as is so often the case with dual vocal parts, the pairs soaring high notes played so well off each other. Coupled with their modulated, frenetic Real Estate/Ducktails-esque guitar and bass parts held together by the tight drums of John Lekias (Doctopus) the set was alive with groovin’ tunes.

Following The Dianas’ set I moved on to check out some of the other artists. On the way to Mojo’s some kind Fremantle locals had opened their hallway up to passers by in need of a boogie. The rave hallway looked banging, but I had no time to stop and dance with so much music on. I then passed the busker again, still playing, about two hours in.

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Sam Atkins, who you may know as the guitarist from Shit Narnia, was showcasing his versatility with a performance of synth/vocoder fueled electronica. The set was full of live beats and midi controllers and Sam made some real deep, real cool, brooding house music. The crowd was flowing freely in and out of Mojo’s but the courtyard was consistently packed and rocking to the sounds of Alex Griffin (Peter Garret in Mining Tax) loosing his DJ set virginity, showing once again that he is a multi talented legend of the Perth scene.

It was at this point that I bought a burger from Flipside. The line for Wassup Dog’s hotdogs out the front of Mojo’s was larger than that to get into the railway hotel at the beginning of the evening. I decided to go with the Taxi C.A.B burger. It was Free-range chicken breast, avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, tomato relish and mayo on a ciabatta roll. The roll was fresh, the chicken cooked perfectly and although they advertised crispy bacon, it was still just soft enough not to crunch up your burger. Ordinarily I’m not a tomato fan, it’s a fucking devil fruit, but burger making is art and I didn’t want to mess with Flipside’s vision in creating this piece so I bravely left it in. In all honesty that’s not what happened I just didn’t realise until I bit into it because I was a little drunk by this stage but it complimented the avocado and relish nicely. On a whole I would rate it an 8.5/10, would eat again, only losing points for the short wait and startling me with that filthy slice of tomato.

At around 9.45 the busker was still playing as we moved on to catch the rest of Dream Rimmy’s set as the psych-pop 5 pieces played to a packed out room in the little dungeon that is the Swan Basement. The band’s energetic and spacey sounds were super well received by the audience and people were really starting to groove out. During said set, two hornier festival attendants were obviously aroused by the sexy pulsating synth sounds as they were engaged in a super intense make out sesh right next to me. The force they were exerting on each other’s faces was incredible; Like a rugby scrum only with more tongue and less participants. This isn’t important but I’d just like to congratulate them on setting what I would assume is at least a local record for most time in an airtight mouth lock without passing out.

We again walked past the busker, who had now gathered a small audience, to see experimental 2-piece Mudlark play. Seriously, how ridiculously fucking talented do two people want to be? Drummer Warsame Hassan was like a human metronome, constantly bobbing and playing some of the coolest, offbeat drum patterns, all whilst holding the ridiculous number of time changes so tight it hurt a little. Man, even his sound check sounded good. Guitarist Steven Bovenizer was equally as awe inspiring with his delay drenched, technically dazzling melodies making for easily the most interesting set of the night. The two were so well rehearsed, demonstrated when Hassan made the most flawless recovery from a stick drop ever, looked up at Bovinizer, bopped his head once and effortlessly coming straight back in, almost like the stop was meant to be there.

After the set I stepped out the front to verbally ejaculate in my friend’s ears over how sexy it was, only to realise that to get back in for Leon Osborne’s I’d have to line up for 20 minutes. Since two of the venues had shut for the evening, punters were left with The Swan Lounge and Mojo’s and flooded both venues. After resisting my constant drunken urges to just jump into the hot-dog line, eat and go to bed for the 20 minutes spent outside Mojo’s, I was lucky enough to make my way in to catch Leon Osbourn ending the night with a pumping DJ set. The guy obviously knew what he was doing and boogied just as hard, if not harder than those who planned on sticking round ‘til the lights came on and they had to make the long journey home.

At 12.15 my babe of a housemate answered a drunken text to come get me, and I left watching that fucking champion of a busker still playing. By far the hardest working performer that evening, he sat with an ocarina he somehow procured, smashing out jams to passers by well after I had driven away. I hope next year they give him a slot because god knows he deserves it. I went home satisfied and scared, knowing I was going to have to put into words how good an evening this was, but the music review kind of speaks for itself. Wowee, holy moly, great night, good times.