Words By: Laurent Shervington
RTRFM’s In the Pines has been a constant fixture in the local Perth music scene, returning for its 23nd year at UWA’s wonderfully green Somerville Auditorium.
Kicking off the day’s proceedings at around noon was the soul trio Merindas, whose soaring vocal harmonies set the perfect mood for the early-comers – sound tracking the placement of picnic rugs and the arrival of many a punter to the venue.
Up next were the five piece all girl punk band HUSSY, who not only did their part in drawing people from their blankets to the stage but treated onlookers to some loosely played but truly endearing songs.
The Pissedcolas were indeed introduced next, wasting no time in starting their noisy no-wave set, which seemed to feature some newer cuts – much to the enjoyment of the building crowd.
The Wheelers of Oz came after and while set may have had the pastiche police on their toes, the predominantly guitar driven band’s set was at it’s strongest during the longer psychedelic jams which swung between euphoric and ethereal.
2015 Big Splash competition winner Jacob Diamond took his place following the Wheelers, being playfully teased with Diamond puns in his introduction. Jacob rarely disappoints live and his track ‘Singapore Sling’ ended up being a highlight of the day for me – sporadically veering off course for noisy interludes with oh-so -sweet croons sealing it together.
After a quick lunch break my ears were greeted to the piercing sounds of Skullcave upon re-entry, which was heartily appreciated by a growing congregation of head-nodders – myself included.
The Benjamin Witt Band started around half past 3, executing Witt’s own brand of experimental rock perfectly, further proving my own theory that no two Ben Witt shows are the same (this is a good thing).
Hayley Beth’s new band HEEBIEJEEBIES gave their fans a real treat with some sharp instrumentation complementing Beth’s brooding vocals superbly, another highlight on the day.
Verge Collection took their place on right side stage soon after, treating the now strong crowd to their growing collection of jangly dole-wave hits. Set closer ‘Our Place’ went down the smoothest ; between the swaggering moves of their exuberant bassist and the sugary melodies on display, the band seem to have found a sweet spot in their execution – now gathering quite a following on the way.
Perth’s own Davey Craddock & The Spectacles helped transition the day’s transition to night perfectly, delivering a myriad of gorgeous Americana/Australicana songs as the sun descended, Craddock showing his proficiency in the art of storytelling over the course of their tight 30 minute set.
Following on was always entertaining Helta Skelta, who I know from their crazy hectic sets at Maylands 208, a small local punk establishment. While it initially felt vastly different and weird to see the band outside of said establishment, the band kicked past their opening numbers to conjure up the sweaty and perilous punk they’re known for – sadly minus the insanity of a small fired up crowd.
Turnstyle showed up as the next band on the right side stage, giving their fans a masterclass in golden era 90s alternative rock. The band jested and mused during break between songs (at one point referring to the 20 or so year age on a majority of their material). Particular highlights included new song ‘Masqueraders’ , ‘Novak’s Plan’ and of course the inimitable closer ‘I’m a Bus’ which consolidated them as a standout on the day.
Continuing the 90s vibes on the other stage was Radarmaker, delivering some tightly played post rock/slowcore with a strong Slint influence – here’s hoping the band doesn’t take another seven years to play in Perth again.
Later in the evening seminal Perth indie rock band bucket took to the stage much to the excitement of old fans and new, playing a mesmerising set that couldn’t help but bring a smile to your face.
This was until the incoming rain threatened to drive fans away from the packed stage but many of the loyal fans stuck out the downpour to enjoy the incredible closing songs.
As local songwriter Peter Bibby began his set the rain began to gain momentum and drench the strong remaining crowd huddled towards the left stage. The faithful fans were rewarded with some classic Bibby tunes, including Fucking Teeth stalwart ‘Medicine’, ‘Hates My Boozin’ and new song ‘Whyalla’
By the time Bibby had handed over to Grace Barbé Afro-Kreol , the rain had well and truly become a thing of the past. For the final act of the night the 3-piece band played an excellent set of Caribbean inspired dance-funk that kept people moving throughout the extended set.
Another year another excellent In The Pines! Major props to RTRFM for pulling off another great festival without a hitch.