2 September, Sutherland Carpark
Sounds Of The Suburbs returned to Sutherland for another year on Sunday and the day was, despite less than impressive ticket sales, quaking with positive energy.
For the first hour or so of the day I was feeling slightly lack lustre, the heat and the crowd had me worried that Sounds Of The Suburbs was going to be little more than a catwalk of poorly applied fake tan and ironic sunglasses.
Lost Tropics saved me. While it wasn’t hard to pick the sounds of The Strokes and Sydney boys Polish Club, the enthusiasm was there. Fresh faced and eager these guys were tripping over themselves at the opportunity, endearingly full of cocky naivety, their brazen and larger than life alt-rock sound was a knockout success. I can’t wait to hear more of what is to come.
Walking into a festival in its dawn hours can be a slightly depressing thing, while I am there for work, standing awkwardly alone for the first act to start is less than ideal. Enter WAAX. These guys are one of the most nonchalant killer bands out there. As one of the first acts of the day, there was no better way to introduce Sounds Of The Suburbs.
Earth-shatteringly loud and unapologetic, WAAX is one of the most performative and invigorating bands I have seen. Needless to say, I was sparked up significantly. I might have watched the set with my boyfriend cowering in the shade of a barricade out of the 30 degree heat, but WAAX brought everyone together in the most impressive way possible.
Ruby Field’s style as a performer is clearly developing as we see her transform from a bedroom Unearthed discovery to a legitimate contender on the Australian music stage. If giving a slightly conceited interaction with her audience, Fields was an instant hit with the crowd, yearning for that familiar radio sound.
For a band who are preceded by a distinct lack of pretension, Goons of Doom’s musicality and technical confidence defy all expectations. Their set was delivered with the conviction and assurance of their ten plus years of experience. A fantastic band worthy of all praise given to them. An exciting approach to hard style surf rock.
Camp Cope articulated with poise and intellect the realities of female experience in music today. Without self-righteousness or indulgence, their music speaks louder than any soap box speech ever could. The vocal power and confidence of Camp Cope sets a precedent for exactly what good Australian bands should be; honest, quick-witted and kind hearted. These Melbourne girls are, in my eyes, some of the best ambassadors for this coming generation of Australian women and men alike. While the crowd across the whole festival was thin on the ground, somehow the audience doubled in size over the course of the set.
The final act of the day, Skegss , gave a triumphant closing performance. With rumours flying about a recent altercation backstage at Snowtunes, Skegss managed to maintain total composure, with guitarist Benny, albeit slightly bruised and shaken, delivering shuddering renditions of New York California and Get On My Skateboard.
Skegss solidified themselves as one of our deservedly best-loved surf-rock acts. The perfect way to wrap up the day, while the crowd was sparse, the camaraderie most definitely was not.
Wrapping up at 8pm was actually a great call, and really considerate of those who live a hundred miles north into Sydney. Piling into the van to catch a ride back to the city with the guys from Goons Of Doom, I felt a wave of sadness in thinking that for all the great intention and brilliant curation of this festival 2017 might be its last year. May we hope and pray that the energy of this spectacular local event keeps its heart beating.