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LIVE: HYPERFEST, Perth – 24 Feb, 2018

| 20 March 2018 | Reply

LIVE: HYPERFEST, Perth – 24 Feb, 2018
Midland Oval, Perth; Saturday, 24 February, 2018
Review & Photography by Pete Gardner

Tired Lion

With 27 bands across 3 stages, this years annual hyperfest, held on one of the hottest days of this summer, was a textbook example of how to successfully run an all ages event. At a bargain price of $39 for a ticket, the Drug, Smoke and Alcohol free event delivered a massive day of great music and entertainment. A feat the organising local council, The City of Swan, should be rightly commended for, and is an object lesson for other local authorities on how to execute similar events.

The two main stages sponsored by Drug Aware and RAC Road Ready, hosted a non stop stream of Australian talent, with several of the bands flying in from the eastern states just for their half hour set. The third stage sponsored by not-for–profit community radio station RTR FM 92.1, presented a superb collection of local talent, many of whom should really have been basking in the spotlight of the main stages.

With so many bands playing, often at the same time, it was impossible to see everything. I tried to catch as many of the acts as I could, but with some of the performances being so good it was impossible to tear myself away to see what was happening elsewhere.

Kicking off the day promptly at 12.00PM, local metal outfit Lost Honours hit the stage with energy and enthusiasm, despite playing to the small crowd of early arrivals. The melodic pop sound of Kopano broke the seal on the main stage. With her wonderfully bejewelled makeup, Kopano had the early dancers up and moving. Raksha are a particular favourite of mine, and once again Amber and the lads gave a great, energetic performance, getting most of the growing crowd moving despite the rising heat of the afternoon.


South Australian moshers, Falcifer, hit the stage with fury. As the day progressed the different flavours of music brought along their respective following, with much headbanging in the front row, the metalheads were having a great time.

Heading back to the RTR stage, local Garage Rock sensation, and last years Gozzy Rock winners, J.F.K. gave their usual excellent performance. Singer John Knox giving his all in a bright blue suit, which was a brave choice considering the heat. It surprised me they were on the RTR stage, as they are more deserving of a main stage position, but with so many bands on the bill, I guess decisions must be made.

Back on the Drug Aware stage, Brisbane rapper Camouflage Rose proved to be a hit with the steadily expanding crowd, with his mix of African sounds and tribal beats.

This was quickly followed by Sydney indie rockers Dear Seattle on the RAC stage, I didn’t stay long, as I headed back to the RTR stage to catch Vacant Home who were going hard and heavy dressed in bright Hawaiian shirts, with singer Callum McGivern climbing the stage scaffolding before getting down and personal with their fans on the front barrier.

Wandering back to the main stage to see electronica rhythm duo FEELS, classically trained percussionists Elise Reitze and Rosie Taylor gave an initially low-key performance. The synth not quite working musically, the pair came alive when both launched into a duet of complex drumming patterns, striking me that this is where they should concentrate their talent. With that in mind, they certainly picked up towards the end of the set with a very Chemical Brothers type vibe to the music.

Around the festival grounds there was plenty to do, roving sunscreen distributers saved many punters, including myself from third degree sunburn. Mr Sunsmart here forgot his hat, didn’t he. Photographing in the pit all day meant there was no escape from the sun and I managed to burn my scalp through my hair, a feat I’ve never managed before!

The RAC set up a booth at the rear of the showgrounds, complete with a rescue helicopters to sit in, and various stands including Red Frogs Australia, Drug Aware and youth support organisations were positioned behind the main stages around a chill out zone. Adjacent to this resided the silent disco. A pair of headphones are handed to you on entering, with 3 channels from the live DJ’s to choose from. Clusters of people silently dance with coloured lights on their headphones indicating which channel they are tuned to. Once you don the headphones it all comes alive, and its great fun switching between the channels dancing to the differing beats.

Back on the Main Stage Tasmanian singer songwriter Maddy Jane delivered a couple of solo tracks from her forthcoming EP, then raised the energy as she was joined onstage by members of Dear Seattle. The set included a very competent version of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams before finishing with another of her own compositions with a very Violent Femmes lilt to the sound.

The bands were coming thick and fast as Newcastle’s Introvert kicked ass, leaping around the stage, which was quite a feat in the afternoon heat. Meanwhile on the RTR stage Winter Corner played to a smaller audience mostly sheltering in the shade. Brisbane lads Columbus mounted the RAC stage with quite a following in the crowd. Big cheers going up as they played a selection of numbers with a very Weezer-esque feel to them, building their short set well to a strong finish.

Heaps Good Friends

As the afternoon progressed some cloud and a light breeze started to give a little respite from the fierce Perth sun. The relief was short lived however, just in time for Jess Locke to take the stage. With the lowering sun shining straight into the eyes of the performers, the shelter of the stage canopy was now redundant. Understandably keeping her sunnies on for her whole time on stage, Jess Locke played through her excellent set, showcasing her accomplished mature song writing. For me this was one of the highlights of the afternoon, and one of the most enjoyable acts of the day so far. Because I stayed for the whole performance, I missed the majority of the Sly Withers set on the RTR stage. Sly Withers with their excellent indie-punk sound have a big following and had amassed quite a crowd, perhaps another band who would have been better served on the main stage. Back at the RAC stage, South Australians Heaps Good Friends gave a brilliant and enjoyable performance. They are playing again in Perth in April at Jack Rabbit Slims, and are well worth checking out.

The Evening shift was now starting and the big guns were coming out. Brisvagan’s WAAX exploded onto the stage in a fury of fire and emotion, lead singer Maz pouring herself into her performance as she thundered around the stage and got down and personal with the crowd leaping into the photo pit. Ruby Fields had a tough act to follow, and made short work of living up to expectations. After taking a moment to adjust her mic and pedals she powered into her set. Dressed down in a plain grey t-shirt and round glasses, her librarian look belied the rock and roll monster hidden beneath. There was just time to catch one track from Perth grunge merchants Glass Wave before rushing back to the main stage for the headline acts of the festival.

Tired Lion were one of the acts many in the crowd, myself included, had been waiting all day for and Sophie Hopes and the lads did not disappoint. Hitting the stage hard with their usual high energy they delivered a set of crowd favourites including Japan, Dumb Days and Cinderella Dracula. By now the Sun was descending giving the crowd and performers some blessed relief, with everyone also reaping the benefit of the now visible stage lighting. The biggest disappointment of Tired Lion’s set was they only had 40 minutes to play, leaving the stage seemingly way too soon.

Camp Cope

I have been trying to put my finger on why I like Camp Cope so much, their latest release has been on constant play in the car and at home. I find their sound highly evocative of 90’s indie, and to me Camp Cope are a natural evolution from, and worthy successors to, the likes of The Cranberries, The Smiths and Billy Bragg, in both musical feel and the emotional content of the lyrics. Playing tracks from the new album How to Socialise and Make Friends, Singer/ Guitarist Georgia McDonald refused to take prisoners taking swipes at the misogyny of the music industry and the lack of diversity of some recent festivals, in the same breath congratulating Hyperfest on the strength of the lineup with so many great female performers. McDonald’s stridently Aussie vocals and stripped down, no nonsense, guitar work were superbly complemented by the complex rhythms of bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmich and drummer Sarah Thompson. I can only stand in agreement with McDonalds wish that one day they can be interviewed as musicians rather than as activists.

Headliners for the festival were Byron Bay’s In Hearts Wake. Described as melodic metalcore (if that’s possible) they gave a dramatic and powerful performance to an enthusiastic and devoted crowd. The emerging circle mosh was a sight to behold, and certainly not for the timid or those of a fragile constitution. I’m not that enthused by metalcore, but found myself enjoying the set more than I thought I would, In Hearts Wake proving themselves to be masters of their craft.

Heading back over to the headline act on the RTR stage, I finished the night with the highly enjoyable Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. After a day of a wild variety of bands and genres, I found the melodic psychedelic rock uplifting and cleansing, and a great way to finish a fantastic day of music.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

With an early curfew of 9.00pm, the local pubs and restaurants of Midland reaped the benefit of a large number of happy, satisfied and sober people pouring into the streets. During the day I saw no violence or aggressive behaviour, no high profile police presence in the grounds and not one person drunk or unruly. As I said, Hyperfest is an object lesson in how to run a festival, I can’t wait for next year, and next time I’ll probably take the kids, but I might keep them out of the circle mosh.

RAC and Drug Aware Main Stages
• Kopano
• Raksha
• Falcifer
• Camouflage Rose
• Dear Seattle
• Feels
• Maddy Jane
• Introvert
• Columbus
• Jess Locke
• Heaps Good Friends
• Ruby Fields
• Tired Lion
• Camp Cope
• In Hearts Wake
RTR FM91 Stage
• Lost Honours
• Muka Vhatti
• J.F.K.
• Vacant Home
• Arno Faraji
• Winter Corner
• Sly Withers
• Carla Genieve
• Glass Wave
• Pow! Negro
• Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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