Yours and Owls Festival: Day 2
6th October, 2019
Stuart Park, Wollongong NSW
Featuring: Frenzal Rhomb, WAAX, The Bungalows, Fait Accompli, Ocean Grove and more…
Back into the mud, and back into Yours and Owls. The humidity had cranked up something fierce, and with it, the amount of drunkenness in the streets. Every other front yard on the way to the venue was crammed with empty cruiser bottles and confetti. Groups of hooligans in glittery clothing slither along the roadways to get to the source of all this mess. I felt truly connected to the people of Wollongong as I made my way towards Stuart Park; I followed a trail of empty beer cans stacked in little cairns at select street corners like tiny piles of treasure leading to the dragon’s horde. Welcome to Day 2.
First stop of the day, and thankfully, it was loud. There’s a lot more energy on stage than their music would suggest. Marie DeVita has the vitality to scream so it feels it comes from right behind you, all the while dancing and kicking her feet every which way. Her vitality fed into me, shrugging off my weariness accrued the day before, abandoning concern for my own health I was attracted like a moth to flame. The instruments were thankfully just as immense; the bigger stage lends itself to their rock and roll presence; energetic bass lines and drums that scream alt-rock herald the coming singles from the new album Big Grief (our review here).
Reminding me a whole lot of KoRn, the band burst on stage in a flurry of downtuned guitars and bad haircuts. Opening with a new song ‘Junkies’, the crowd responds immediately; a third of all gathered must have been jumping along with vocalist Dale Tanner. Nu-metal is not my thing, but if anyone tells you it isn’t fit for a festival, they are downright wrong. As the set progressed, so too did the antics of the crowd. Crowd surfers started popping up, and I even saw a circle playing Uno begin in the middle of all the headbanging and dancing. The high engagement from the stage show truly reflected on the crowd, a great response for a great performance.
The Rad Stage is legitimately one of the coolest places on Earth. Every thirty minutes, it’s likely you’ll find something you can boogie to, be it rock, metal or alternative. Fait Accompli prove that without a doubt. Two to three vocalists were singing for the entirety of their stylised rock set, and often not the same vocal lines which added a grand depth of noise to the music. Whilst the band members seemed to be interacting with each other, the keyboard player was amped up so much he was in his own world, which infected me to do the same. The tripped out vocals and the onstage magnetism had me dancing like there was no tomorrow.
The air in the Rad tent was electric. The mood was crackling with anticipation for what ever was next. As the sides of the tent bulged with the sheer weight of those present inside, and the eager eyes of those out, Dribs began to play. Punk rock in the vein of softer Violent Soho kicked in and the crowd took that as a queue to get on each other’s shoulders. Musically it was nothing to write home about, but the people on stage were what made it all gel together. An atmosphere of camaraderie, familiarity and rapport made everyone feel like you were in the front row.
There’s nothing I like more than disco beats on drums. Nothing! The Bungalows seamlessly switched between your sensible surf rock patterns to dancy disco ones with little effort, creating an experience that felt like a rollercoaster through the 80s and 90s. The vocals were rather low, but when the gang needed to pitch in, they shot up in the mix like a shot of adrenaline. Which is a bit of a shame, because vocalist G Gannon had all my attention; a wild blue fluffy coat and dance moves fit to make Patrick Swayze slink away in shame made sure of that. It made for a good show that was over oh too soon.
One of the more popular bands at the Rad Stage; people were crowdsurfing before the band were even in sight. It’s your generic type of fast punkish rock that is lifted exponentially by the presence of actual groove in the bass lines. The bass was mixed really high, giving the whole performance a sort of bounciness that complemented the simple riffs like an expensive cheese with a fine wine. The vocals were also rather unique, which stopped it from falling into Dune Rats territory.
The moment my eyes focused on the stage, I saw a naked man standing proudly on stage before nonchalantly waving his hands, and genitals as he exited stage left. Funnily enough, that’s how I expected this Frenzal Rhomb show to pan out. Jovial and jocular, the band jump and jive around the stage like it’s a Trash Talk show. But musically, it sounds like it would comfortably sit in an early 2000s teen comedy; that trademark voice of the era coming out of Jay Whalley’s matted visage. Overall, the music and on stage banter is entertaining for a while, but for an entire set? I’d rather go watch Courtney Barnett (and I did).
Until next year…
Review by Dylonov Tomasivich
Yours & Owls Festival Day 2