Perspectives on SOTA 2016 @ Lizdog Quay

Thoughts: Jordan Murray 

I didn’t go to Elizabeth Quay expecting much. I think that’s normal of any infrastructure that costs $2.6 billion. It’s a thrift anxiety; the feeling that whatever fun you did have, it never quite felt like $2.6 billion of fun. But then I was happily proven wrong during PIAF, when the venue felt not only beautiful but also usefully located opposite a train station. So, whatever qualms and bias I did have, I made a concerted effort to leave at the door, and that included a case of sour stomach brought on by a shoddy burrito. If State of the Art were to capture my attention, I thought, it would have to be in some spectacular and outsized manner. Or, at least, fun enough to keep me until Koi Child hit the stage at 5:15pm.

I decide to see what Matso’s provided in a 3-hour bloc of ‘live and unplugged’ music. It’s here where I catch sight of a man with zebra leggings and died blue quiff. I mistake his name as ‘Ginger,’ as appears the phrase on a banner just to the left of the stage, though it’s just as likely this is the name of some piss Matso’s is trying to peddle (I never found out the performer’s real name). He’s singing a song that sounds wholly inappropriate for the gathered middle-aged family members. If I’m not mistaken, he says something to the effect of wanting a girl to make him, ‘sweat.’ He just as quickly wraps that up to cover Roxette. It’s bizarre and utterly mesmerizing. I don’t think I’ve seen someone have such credulous fun in a while.

I don’t want to be too harsh in appraising every band that did perform. They were all consummate professionals, contending with disinterested crowds and bad mixing jobs. And certainly, as the day went along, crowds got bigger, people got manners, and bands got better. But nobody could ever contend with the joy of Ginger. Nobody.

Koi Child came the closest, though. Their brand of Kevin Parker approved jazz rap was the first performance to gather a crowd that could be described as either sizable or interested. They certainly earned it, owning the wondrous cheese of the saxophone solo in all its Rafferty-inflected glory. Cheers go up, and a cover of The Prodigy’s “Breathe” and their own hit “1-5-9” close out proceedings. None too shabby for a band who’ve all but disowned their (decidedly awesome) boiler-suited past.

God bless the Swan River Colony. God bless Ginger.

Thoughts: Jason Harris 

With the exception of Tame Impala and San Cisco, I’ll admit to being a bit naïve  to what the current crop of local bands produce on a regular basis. However, a recent internship at West Australian Music really opened my eyes to the talent that is well and truly out there in this state. So when hearing about the State of the Art festival, I knew attending was a must, even with it being on a damp and cold early winters’ day.

I was incredibly excited to seeing some of the acts that our great state has recently produced, with Mosquito Coast one act that fascinated me.

Showing maturity well beyond their tender years, the JJJ Unearthed High winners played a superb set of “dreamy indie” tunes, transporting the audience from the chilly weather to a deserted island far, far away.  Their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s seminal classic “Dreams” showed the talent they possess.  They will be one act to watch for many years to come.

Fremantle 7-piece Koi Child was another act that had a sense of intrigue attached. With darkness approaching outside, their performance lit up the main tent. Their form of “jazz infused hip-hop” was fantastic to see and it is great to see an act break away from the mainstream genres and try something a bit different. A strong stage presence is vital in a musical act and Koi Child had it in droves embracing the crowd at regular intervals.

With their unique style, Koi Child have the ability to create a bit of a niche market for themselves, particularly in diverse markets overseas. The only Australian band that comes close to their style is the Cat Empire and even that comparison is a little bit of a stretch.

While more established acts like Jebediah, San Cisco and TA-KU were the headliners, its always pleasing to see acts perform on their way to the top. Roll on next year’s edition of SOTA.