Words By: Anthony Worrall
While other commitments had prevented my arrival at the Rosemount Hotel until roughly 6:30PM, I was still treated to roughly seven hours of all-round quality local music, with Distant Murmurs once again providing a nice reminder of how strong Perth’s local music scene is. The show had a festival-like structure, with three stages (the 459 Bar, the Beer Garden and the Main Stage) showcasing roughly 30 acts across twelve hours. While seeing every act was bordering on the impossible, I witnessed enough variety and entertainment in the artists I did see that I went home with a huge smile on my face.
The first of these acts I saw was local Perth four-piece Segue Safari at 7PM on the Main Stage, who kicked my night off very strongly. Drawing influence from both classical psych-rock and more recent indie rock groups like The Strokes, as well as more lo-fi, garage sounds such as that found on an early Wavves record, Segue Safari produced a really tight and cohesive performance, with the nervous charm and between-song banter of vocalist and lead guitarist Jeremy Segal matching the overall warm, upbeat and genuine feel of the music.
Next up, at 8:10 in the Beer Garden, were Erasers, a Western Australian psychedelic duo whose lush and almost trance-like grooves provided a fantastic ambience for the large crowd of people gathered outside. Combining these smooth sounds and the melodic voice of vocalist Rebecca Orchard with heavy-hitting, hypnotic tribal drum machine loops, the performance was encapsulating in a similar sound to well-known Animal Collective alumni Panda Bear.
Arriving just in time to see spectacular seven-piece group Salary at 9 on the Main Stage, I was treated to arguably the performance of the night. Boasting a huge lineup featuring a saxophonist and an accordion player, yet still boasting incredible chemistry in spite of this, Salary played folksy material with a touch of baroque and art rock, with Arcade Fire and Talking Heads very clear influences. They also played a Bruce Springsteen cover, which successfully replicated the big-band, working class passion for which Springsteen is known.
Meanwhile, at 9:10 in the Beer Garden was drum virtuoso Phil Stroud and a five-piece band, who provided smooth, extended jazz jams, complete with improv solos from a synth and even jazz flute. Even watching the band was hypnotic, with every musician so completely and utterly concentrated on their music in a trance-like state.
The perfectly-titled Psychedelic Porn Crumpets were on at the Main Stage at 10, and for the most part lived up to their name in providing tasty, heavy psych-rock grooves, sounding as if Nathan Williams from Wavves provided vocals for a Jimi Hendrix guitar track. By this time, the crowd had become electric, and the Crumpets’ surf-psych guitar lines provided a fantastic atmosphere.
After that, I went back to the Beer Garden at 10:30 for local electronic music producer & WAM Award-winner Diger Rokwell (& friends), who provided a broad spectrum of grooves to get down to. Creating chilled vibes through ornate trip-hop rhythms not dissimilar to something found on a Morcheeba record, it became very hard to stand (or sit) still for any period of time. Throughout the set, other local artists showed up as features on some of the tracks, such as Mathas, Felicity Groom & Ben Witt.
Finally, at midnight on the Main Stage was HAMJAM, arguably the biggest act of the night. For a band that sounds like Thee Oh Sees or Ty Segall, the lack of a live drummer definitely detracted from what was otherwise an enthralling performance.
Overall, Distant Murmurs provided a large amount of bands whose styles vastly differed, and provided an incredibly enjoyable and interesting night.