Midland Oval, Perth WA
February 24th, 2018
Featuring: In Hearts Wake, WAAX, Tired Lion, Introvert, Camp Cope, Falcifer, Dear Seattle, Columbus and more
It wasn’t what I expected, apparently I had not read the fine print. I was hoping to have the freedom of floating in and out of the beer tent between sets of some of the best, current Australian acts. Not the case. There were tents, sure, But they were for putting glitter on your face, or picking up a lolly-bag. But between dodging the splash at the bottom of the water slide and kindly declining my 5th complimentary red frog, the place was going off.
My day started off with Falcifer. The first of many female fronted acts on the line-up that absolutely slayed it. After I made it through my initial ‘wtf?’ moment, I was genuinely stoked with what I was hearing. Vocalist Stephanie Marlow’s voice truly needs to be heard to be believed. She’s smashing stereotypes by harnessing a scream of total demonic badassery, and keeping it well under control. Talk about girl power. Alex Henderson owned her bass parts and wasn’t stage shy, moving about and egging on the punters at the stage front moshing away in the harsh afternoon heat. Falcifer were super tight, and super fun.
I sat in the shade on my drug aware beach chair as Carmouflage Rose rapped about sex and late nights at the club, waiting for Dear Seattle to take the stage. “I know you’re not drunk right now but you probably have some inhibitions.” Taunted Brae Fisher, who is probably getting more used to a more unkempt crowd by this point. There was now a solid crowd in front of the RAC stage listening to a crystal-clear mix and moving about. ‘Quiet’ was the track that initially got the crowd moving, with that fat interlude, that carries through to the end of the song. Tune. ‘Afterthought’ and ‘The Meadows’ inevitably drew a few more punters out into the sun. Somewhere in ‘The Meadows’ first chorus I saw a kid boot a beach ball up into the sky above the crowd super enthusiastically—like he was born to do it. He was having a good day, and so he should be. “Fuck being sad”.
I was just sad I didn’t have a beer. A bit of a frothy would have gone down a treat during Introvert’s set. These guys are fuckin’ good. As an avid Deftones , Thrice and Trade Wind listener, I can appreciate the way Introvert’s songs are written. I don’t know where these guys draw their inspiration, but I noticed during ‘December’ that a few things drummer Stephen Hopkins did were Abe Cunningham-esque. With a bunch of releases that are so dynamic, their set followed suit. Mitch Raschke was a ball of energy in every song, moving his body with every note. Unfortunately, during the first couple of songs the guitars weren’t really coming through in the mix and I looked over to the sound booth to see the sound guy shaking his head. Despite this, Audie Franks’ voice was powerful as fuck and the boys rocked out unfazed. I’m probably just splitting hairs anyway, their set was fucking good. It’s no wonder they supported Cog on tour.
I hadn’t heard of Columbus yet, but apparently, a girl down by the front of the stage certainly had. As ‘Replace Me’ was announced as the next song, she let out a shriek like she had just witnessed a murder, or worse, dropped her iPhone 8. Obviously, with a number of adoring fans in the crowd, Columbus were comfortable up there; drummer Daniel Seymour was donning a huge smile the whole set which is always good to see. “It’s kind of scary, like releasing a child off into the wild.” Lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Moses announced in regards to playing a new song for the first time on stage, which I unfortunately didn’t catch the name of. I thought this was a strange analogy, it sounded like very bad parenting. Nonetheless, the song performed well in the ‘wild’. Clever, comprehensible pop-punk with some cool breakdowns made for a great set from the lads.
Ok, I didn’t want to say it, but they might have played the best set at Hyperfest… WAAX did not fuck around. Ripping straight into ‘I For An Eye’, the band got the mass of people moving straightaway. Vocalist Maz De Vita introduced herself with a few aggressive shouts of “Whatup!?” that was sure to intimidate a few of the youngsters. ‘This Everything’ was next and Maz’s eccentric stage persona was in full effect, getting her stage-crawl on. When someone’s eyes roll to the back of their head, they’re either scoffing at something shit you just said, or they are possessed by something. In the case of a WAAX set, it’s the latter—at risk of sounding a bit lame—Maz seems to be possessed by the music. So much expression and emotion. A cover of Courtney Barnett’s ‘Pedestrian at Best’ was well received with some cool reverb thrown on the vocals toward the end and ‘Wild and Weak’ saw the first people on shoulders in the crowd. They closed the set out with ‘Same Same’ with an extended pause before the last “I pace, I backtrack…” and they left the stage with a truly amped up crowd. I caught WAAX after their set and they signed my very old purple iPod, surely increasing the antique’s value a fraction. Legends!
I didn’t expect much less from Perth locals Tired Lion. The sun had just gone down and what better band to debut the stage lights and dry ice? Even confetti was thrown into the mix during ‘Where Were You’: “That was our first ever confetti blast we’ve ever done. How did it feel? It was magical for us”. Every one of Tired Lion’s songs are catchy and full of energy and played with absolute precision. The crowd helped with the singing in ‘I Don’t Think You Like Me’ as shitloads of little RAC beach balls bounced here and there. Tired Lion—not surprisingly—drew the biggest crowd on the day, which amounted to a solid chant of “Da da da, da da da” during the final song ‘Cinderella Dracula’. Awesome set, a very proud Perth local moment right there.
Camp Cope were up next and simmered the crowd down a little bit, but not in a bad way. They were mesmerising. The way a lot of these young girls were singing entire songs and waving their hands from side to side in the air was inspirational. I’m not going to pretend I know much of Camp Cope’s lyrics but I can understand their context. As a musician myself, It’s good to see an all-female band kicking arse and fighting the good fight. Georgia McDonald didn’t play up to the fact that her audience were the younger generation, acknowledging that these youngin’s are the future of music, which I thought was super cool. A friendly moth landed on McDonald before their last song of the set and bassist Kel Hellmrich gracefully removed it and set it free for her. There was something very powerful about that scene, like it was meant to happen. A thought provoking set from Camp Cope.
I was told by a few people before the festival that I should definitely check out In Heart’s Wake. This type of hardcore generally isn’t my thing, but the lads were impressive. Drummer Conor Ward drummed like a fricken’ rock solid metronome, but by no means playing basic beats, all while donning a T-shirt with a cat on it. These guys were melodic and super intricate, obviously drawing influences from Parkway Drive (I believe they share the same hometown in Byron Bay) and had crowd interaction down pat: “Let’s get a moshpit going, open this shit up”. What caught my attention was the modern sound of the band. The ‘Djent’ sound had an effect on it that sounded synthy and I found it quite refreshing to hear in this style of music. After lead singer Jake Taylor crowd surfed on Patchy the boat to the sound guy delivering a fruit platter while screaming his harsh vocals, I made my way to the RTR stage to catch the remainder of Psychedelic Porn Crumpets set.
And it was no less intense. It was like some super cool, vigorous dance party. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets were delivering some funky breakdowns from outerspace. I know this because I sold guitarist Luke Parish a Line 6 ‘Space Chorus’ pedal. I chatted to him and vocalist/guitarist Jack McEwan over a drink at the Rosemount last year and Parish claimed he still used it, maybe he was just being nice. Anyway, I managed to catch the last two tracks of the set ‘Marmalade March’ and ‘Cornflake’. You should of seen this shit, the place was going off. One guy that had been dancing all day, was still doing that shuffle dance move thing and killing it, clearly in his element. ‘Cornflake’ earnt itself a wall of death which seemed to signify the final hit-out that would bring the festival to a close. The kids went absolutely nuts and it was awesome. Props to these guys for their upcoming tour with Royal Blood, well deserved.
And I had made it. A good nine hours with a bunch of teenagers and no beer. Music is powerful and makes us do crazy things sometimes. But what would have been crazy was missing a line-up like this. Actually, the kids of Perth wear some crazy stuff too, but they sure know how to party. The future is looking bright.
Review by Rory McDonald
In Hearts Wake
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets