Yours and Owls Festival: Day 1
Stuart Park, Wollongong NSW
29th September, 2017
Feat: Hellions, Polaris, Luca Brasi, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Dear Seattle, Maddy Jane and more
With sunny weather accompanying some of Australia’s best homegrown talent, Yours & Owls was an absolute delight. From the locals to travelers, all were dressed in their weekend best, enjoying the ocean breeze until the sunset on both days. With good vibes aplenty – communal drinks, ciggies and hi-5s being shared amongst the revelers in attendance, Yours & Owls is definitely a world-class music experience inserted into a small-town vibe.
Taking cues from 90s guitar pop and straight up rock and roll, Clews kicked off the Restless stage playing to a growing crowd, notably as the sun was coming out. The combination of super-sweet dual vocalists, plus the bands hard-hitting rhythm section really made for an enjoyable performance. As a relatively new act – despite recent support slots with Albert Hammond Jr and Portugal the Man – they smashed through a short set seemingly impressing all the early punters.
Maddy Jane –
Maddy Jane’s set proved to be an early highlight. Mixing elements of blues-rock and indie, MJ and her very skilled backing band had the crowd in the palm of their hands – super impressive for the time slot provided. Walking away I couldn’t help but wonder when a full length record will grace our ears.
DJ Denim took to the stage to hype up the crowd before Mallrat’s set, buttering the crowd up with a few covers before Mallrat joined her on stage. Easily bouncing through her set of jumpy electro pop, Mallrat’s best colours shined through on tracks ‘Groceries‘ and ‘Texas‘. The remainder of her performance was jam-packed with enthusiastic punters dancing and singing along to every track, proving that Mallrat has bigger stages to conquer yet.
Dear Seattle –
Dear Seattle launched their performance with VB tinnies being thrown in the air and a massive reception from the growing crowd. Notably tighter than their set earlier this year at Unify, the bands emo-laced grunge tunes were a big hit with this years crowd. Powering through new single ‘Maybe‘ & each track off their self titled EP, the band also included some new songs from their forthcoming debut record. The band jokingly refused to announce the release date – despite a number of enthusiastic requests from the front row.
Middle Kids –
The start of Middle Kids set was burdened with a few unfortunate technical difficulties – before long there was a number of people sitting on shoulders rocking out to the bands sombre and melodic tunes. The band has notably one of the most refined live sounds heard at Y&O in terms of performance and pacing. Set highlights included ‘Edge of Town’ & ‘Bought It‘ from their debut LP, Lost Friends.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets –
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets were next up – the band’s sound just as inspired and eclectic as their name suggests. Taking influence from garage and classic rock, their “Beatles” inspired riffs weren’t wasted on the crowd or this reviewer. As the band kicked up the ante, the crowd followed through with their drinking and dancing along intensified.
Tiny Little Houses –
It was a treat to see Tiny Little Houses successfully pull off the raw sound displayed on their debut record Idiot Proverbs; real, no frills, and as dynamic as possible. Each band member looked like they were having the best time possible – even their mild-mannered vocalist who didn’t talk much until later in the set. There were sing-a-longs a-plenty to tracks including ‘Short Hair‘ and ‘Team Player‘, the band clearly bringing the crowd together with their fuzzy-jangly guitar pop bangers.
Luca Brasi –
Tasmania’s Luca Brasi made the trip over to NSW for their Yours and Owls set, a massive treat for any dedicated punk rock fan. The bands emotive and hard hitting performance included the unofficial best-of their discography as well as tunes from their latest effort Stay. Only stopping to address the crowd or swap guitars, the band packed a lot into their festival set, easily winning over any new fans watching.
Following a few other instances of sound issues, Polaris’ set commended with lead vocalist Jamie Hails’ mic cutting out for a solid minute after the first track. Handled like a true professional (with a charming sense of humour), Hails continued the set with a surprisingly solid vocal performance despite the band recently returning from a US tour supporting Parkway Drive this week. The band (who are unarguably the heaviest on the lineup across both days) continued on with the energetic live show they’re known for with minimal issues. Polaris‘ set was the first and only set to feature a circle pit and arguably one of the better sets of the day with bangers such as ‘Lucid‘ & ‘The Remedy‘ (both from debut record The Mortal Coil).
Arguably their best performance in a while, the boys in Hellions played a phenomenally tight set. The lucky handful of people that forwent Peking Duck were treated with a mix of old favorites from 2015’s Indian Summer and stand out picks from the 2016 record Opera Oblivia. We were also granted a sneak peek of their upcoming album Rue via a fantastic performance of an unreleased track, which was received as well as the bands other material. With a sense of dedication in the crowd (despite it being one of the smaller turnouts of the night) everyone in the crowd were off their feet the entire set, notably braving the cold weather to see the Restless Stage headliners.
Capping off day 1 with push pits, finger pointing and crowd surfing, Hellions earned their place amongst the diverse selection of acts at the festival.
Festival Review by Josh Gonzalez @GomezPunx
Tiny Little Houses