Words By: Jack Smith
The third week of Fremantle’s Hidden Treasures showcase took place last Thursday evening in the coastal town and music capital of WA. The eclectic and eccentric mix of music was spread across four venues, over five hours, and featured around fifteen acts for fifteen bucks. It’s well worth the money, but don’t be fooled like I was, firstly there isn’t any real treasure to be found, I looked. Secondly it isn’t hidden; there are big signs all along the street and around the venues telling you about the event.
A ten-piece Irish folk music troupe was the first act of the four venues. Upstairs at The National Hotel, sat around a table in the middle of the room, the Celtic fiddlers created a lovely and lively traditional pub atmosphere. They really produced an authentic classically Irish sound, music that would be well at home in an 18th century tavern. All that was missing was: a wood fire, Michael Flatley and a bar fight.
Following the current of music revelers I made my way to the next venue of the night; The Buffalo Club. Proper old school, punk act Surf Rabbits kicked off their set with short bursts of mayhem. Managing to fit about 12 songs into their 30 minutes set they gave value for money with people gradually filling out the venue and momentum building as a result. As if people weren’t already overdosing on healthy amounts of angry punk, towards the end of their gig they enlisted the help of a guest vocalist who can only be described as an angry Viking. If you’re a fan of milder, mellower music this band isn’t for you, in their own words: “If you like quiet music, don’t worry, the next band is a lot quieter”.
Two doors down at The Navy Club Joni in the Moon were serenading the room to some electro-soul. The vocals were mellifluous and very powerful, a little bit avant-garde and experimental with their sound and covering a diverse range of political and social subject matter, this band was a refreshing change of pace for the night. A touching tribute to the lead singer’s two daughters, fittingly named “Saving Grace” was especially emotionally charged and deservedly well received. This group obviously has a cult following, the room was packed wall-to-wall, people were sitting cross-legged at the front of a stage, I had to sit awkwardly on a window sill to get a good view, but it was well worth it.
The final venue of the night PS Art Space played host to arguable the most varied array of music. The room itself was very futuristic and monochromatic. Once you passed through a 15 foot black curtain, to the left was a coffee-counter/bar, to the right was the world of Tron. Obscure and opaque projections were screened on one wall and a floor-to-ceiling, bright, white fluorescent light-tube stood in the centre of the warehouse. The Fremantle Women’s Choir was the premiere performance in this space-age chamber and to be honest ethereal, gospel choir music isn’t really my sort of thing, I mistrust nuns and priests. But I can’t deny that all of the women involved are incredibly, vocally talented and I actually enjoyed the show.
What better act to follow this than septet, hip-hop-jazz fusion band Koi Child. These were the guys I came to see and they did not disappoint. They’re relatively new on the block as a collective, so they don’t have a huge back-catalog of songs. But they did play the well-known and aptly named ‘Slow One’ as well as their up-tempo addictive-as-smack-track ‘Black Panda’. The six-piece jazz band combined with witty and energetic vocals work really well, who’d have thought a trombone has a home in the world of hip-hop. The stage was dynamic; it was a visual performance, as well as an auditory one. Cruz Patterson’s on-stage energy is preternatural and impossible to keep up with, but it’s fun to try. If you get a chance, definitely check these guys out, if you get a community chest, definitely check these guys out.
Fremantle’s Hidden Treasures continues on Thursday 23rd July featuring: One Tiger Down, Legs Electric and Hideous Sun Demon. Oh, make sure if you do go to dress up as a pirate, nobody told me that it was the theme but I felt pretty stupid without an eye-patch and a fake wooden leg.