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LIVE: Reverb Festival – Perth, 13 April, 2018

| 23 April 2018 | Reply

LIVE: Reverb Festival – Perth, 13 April, 2018
G.O. Edwards Park, Burswood, Perth – Friday, 13th April 2018
Review & photography by Pete Gardner

The Jezabels
The Preatures
Cloud Control
Maddy Jane
Sloan Peterson

Day one of the inaugural Reverb festival promised an excellent line up of some great bands, headlined by two Aussie favourites, The Preatures and The Jezabels.

The location, at G.O. Edwards park, directly opposite Crown casino was superb, with good parking and transport options for those attending. Inside the venue, the facilities were excellent, with plenty of bars, a chill out area and silent disco, plus a chair swing carousel to keep the punters amused between acts. The use of a cashless wristband system seemed quite innovative, with top up stations dotted around the grounds, where you can apply credit to the wristband before heading back to the bar or kebab van. I wondered what happens to left over credit, but refund instructions are available on the Reverb website.

The only odd thing about the event was how few people turned up…

The gates opened at 4.00pm, and arriving on time to make sure I had my media pass in order before the first band came on, I found I was virtually the first person in the grounds. The first performer, Sloan Peterson – who takes her stage name from Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – arrived on stage punctually at 4.40 and looked out at an empty field. With a slightly sarcastic “Happy to be here” and a dry joke about this being an intimate gig, Sloan and her band deliver a well executed set of tracks from her debut EP, Midnight Love. Her style of indie garage rock with a slight ‘50s lilt was highly enjoyable, it was just a pity there were only a few early arrivals to share the experience.

Tasmanian Maddy Jane, currently also touring her Debut EP, Not Human At All, seemed similarly perturbed by the lack of an audience, I counted just over 30 people watching the stage, which seemed strange for a sizable festival. I can only imagine the early start time on a Friday evening was just too early to get home from work/college/school and get back out to the event. It didn’t seem fair on these performers who travelled interstate for the event, to play the proverbial empty room, which may have been avoided with a bit more foresight. Maddy Jane however gave an excellent professional set. I liked her when I first saw her play at Hyperfest in February, where she had band support from Dear Seattle. With her own band in tow she shined, and I look forward to her next visit West.

By now a few more people were trickling in, the sun had set allowing the stage lighting to come to the fore. The crowd was still fairly sparse by the time E^ST took to the stage, But this did allow some room for dancing. E^ST has seen a degree of success over the last couple of years, and played a set of her best work from her last few EP’s. E^ST has a wonderful rich voice, to complement her synth driven pop and she loosened up as the set progressed. With her style and performance quite reminiscent of Lourde, and found myself enjoying E^ST’s much more than I thought I would.

Festival alt rock favourites Cloud Control joined the stage just as the night was beginning to cool quite rapidly. Singer Alister Wright happily chatted with the still-not-huge crowd, welcoming the idea of an intimate gig and adding there was also the benefit of plenty of room for everyone to run around to keep warm. Cloud Control played a wonderfully laid back set of songs from their last two albums, with the added bonus of a cover of Dreams by The Cranberries, which they had recently performed for Triple J’s Like a Version, and like all the best covers, the band did a great job of recreating the song in their own image. The biggest cheer for the set was when they played Promises from their second album Dream Cave, with the obligatory arm waving and singalong from the small but appreciative crowd.

By the time the Preatures alighted the stage the crowd had filled out somewhat, albeit far from capacity. Starting the set with the title track from their most recent album, Girlhood, Izzi Manfredi and the guys powered into their set with their customary enthusiasm. Last time I saw the Preatures, Izzi was just recovering from a bout of the flu, so it was great to hear her in full voice and not holding back as the band powered through Somebody’s Talking, Cruel and I Know A Girl. There did seem to be a problem on stage with the sound, and it became apparent the band had lost their monitors. After a short adjustment, the band continued, determined to have fun.

Izzi introduced I Like You, saying it’s an appropriate song as it is about being cool when shit fucks up! This song really showcases Izzi’s unique voice, but it was obvious the band were feeling it without the monitors. At this point the sound went out altogether, and it was clear there was something seriously wrong, after another short interval, the band declared they were a rock band and can carry on regardless! They cranked up again only for the power to go yet again as they played Ordinary.

Many bands at this point would have given up and stormed off stage, instead, the Preatures came and sat on the edge of the stage, chatting with the crowd and having a smoke, as the technicians desperately tried to fire the generators back up. From where I was standing I caught a glimpse of Hayley from The Jezabels standing pensively at the side of the stage, probably wondering if they would get a chance to play at all. After several long minutes the stage lights came back on and the band jumped back up to play one last number, Is This How You Feel, Izzi wearing a pair of flashing Devils horns which had been donated from the crowd, and throwing her all into this last number from an unfortunately curtailed set. I am a big fan of the Preatures anyway, but I have absolute respect and admiration for the humour and professionalism with which they handled these “technical issues”.

By the time The Jezabels entered the stage, all technical issues had been fixed, and we were treated to an hour of their best work. Now a five piece on stage, Hayley Mary’s powerful and unique voice, Heather Shannon’s excellent keyboard work, and the guitar and drums of Samuel Lockwood and Nik Kaloper build during Mace Spray from the Dark Storm EP, before charging headlong into My Love is My Disease, and the Jezabels biggest hit to date, Endless Summer. After Easy to Love from the second EP, Hayley dons a guitar for their most recent single, The Others, giving no doubt the Jezabels are back on form, with some great music to come in the future.

After keeping the guitar duties going for Got Velvet, Hayley pauses to complement The Preatures, saying “Well done for dealing with that shit” and complementing the crowd as well. A little Piece and If Ya Want Me have Hayley leaping across the stage now she is again untethered from her guitar. Toning things down a little for the sultry and sensual Pleasure Drive, Hayley loses her pinstripe jacket and tie, slinking around the stage pulling open the buttons on her shirt, which she hastily does back up for The Look of Love. During the final number, Hurt Me, Hayley dives into the crowd jumping over the barrier and disappearing like a stone dropped into a pond, and still singing. Reappearing a few minutes later as the song ends, she is assisted back up onto the stage to say her final goodbyes, thank the festival organisers, and encourage everyone to support their festivals and live music.

In almost every way the first day of Reverb was a success. Good facilities, a great venue, and a fantastic line up of brilliant bands. I just hope poor ticket sales don’t prevent Reverb continuing next year.

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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