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LIVE: WA Day State of the Art Festival 2019

| 12 June 2019 | Reply

LIVE: WA Day State of the Art Festival 2019
Burswood Park, Monday, 3 June, 2019
Review & photos by Peter Gardner

The annual state of the art festival in celebration of WA day is always an eclectic mix of Music, showcasing the best of WA’s homegrown talent. This free of charge, all ages event is always a great spectacle, and this year’s new venue at Burswood Park was no exception. The double stage ensured there was no break in the 9 hours of live performances, the stage, light and sound crews executing their tasks flawlessly for the duration.

This year’s setup was excellent, with the all ages alcohol free zone set with ample space in front of the stage, and the licenced area behind, allowing those who wished to indulge all day to do so, and still see the stages, plus keeping those who may have had one or two too many away from the crowd who just want to enjoy the music.

Surrounding the main stage area, was a plethora of food trucks, inflatables and activities for the kids, along with the usual presence from some commercial organisations such as Coles and the RAC, meanwhile the main stage activity was broadcast on large screens across the park.

Kicking off proceedings, Alt pop outfit Tether, who have attracted some interest from Triple J, played an engaging set to the early crowd. With a sound, which seemed to mix Chvrches with the Jezabels, and a new single due out soon, Tether may well prove be a band to keep an eye on in the next 12 months.

The days performances were seamless with no break between acts, almost as soon as Tether finished their last chord, Alternative indigenous folk rock band, The Struggling Kings announced their presence with the rich haunting sounds of the didgeridoo. After an enjoyable half hour set, attention passed back to the second stage where rapper T$oko, was well received by the gathering crowd, although as in previous years I question the choice of a rap act and the “colourful language” of the lyrics so early in the day when so many children are around. Grunge Pop Trio, Flossy were next up. Another up and coming band with a single due out this year, Sisters Lauren and Sinead O’Hare shared vocals and Harmonies as the threesome produced a good solid sound.

WAM Award winner, Hip-Hop artist, Hyclass was a world apart from the previous rap offering, with great sound, and positive uplifting lyrics, with her last single, Queen, a message of self empowerment to young women. Hailing from the Kimberly, The Family Shoveller Band, upped the tempo with their Sax and bongo driven reggae.

Just returning from the festival circuit in Canada performing for Canadian Music week, Your Girl Pho proved to be the most popular act of the day so far. Probably under served by the 3.00pm timeslot, Your Girl Pho has a great Jazz voice, which coupled with the dual saxophones, evokes a late night lounge feel albeit with heavy dose of synth.

Great Gable Rocked out for their set, proving to have an enthusiastic fan base singing along in the growing crowd, their popularity in no doubt as I’m sure I saw a bra flung at the stage during their closing number. Followed by Reija Lee, who played a pleasant synth and bass driven set with a strong 80’s feel, before giving way to the days big guns.

Katy Steele is always amazing, the Little Birdy front woman giving a brilliant performance, switching seamlessly from guitar to keyboards and back again with the set culminating in a full gospel choir on stage.

By now the enclosure on front of the stages was at capacity, as WA’s favourite musical son, John Butler, sat himself centre stage surrounded by a circle of monitors and a rack of guitars. Minus the rest of the eponymous trio, Butler was just sublime, acknowledging the traditional owners of the land, before playing through a set of classics, including the crowd happily singing along to Zebra. Wade in the Water was an absolute highlight. Lacking the solid punch the song delivers live with the trio, the song takes on a far more mournful and emotive feel played solo. Never one to shy away from abuses of the environment, Butler gave an impassioned plea against logging in WA’s South West, following state government changes to the rules opening up more old growth forests, before closing out the set with the ever brilliant Ocean.

One of Western Australia’s biggest stars overseas, Drapht, was wildly welcomed and played and hour of high energy fast moving hip-hop. A request from the singer to extend his set with only a few minutes left to perform was declined, to the great disappointment of the crowd, as he told us this was the shortest hour of his life! Although Hip-Hop is not my scene it is impossible not to be taken in By Drapht’s sheer energy on stage, and yes it was a very short enjoyable hour.

Old campaigners Jebediah gave their all, rocking a string of hits, Kevin Mitchell aka Bob Evans happily taking his place centre stage fronting his band, whilst Vanessa Thornton pogoed around with her bass and a huge grin on her face.

Closing out the day Electronic duo SlumberJack kept the party going with their sonic assault and dazzling lightshow, an ecstatic crowd loving every minute.

SOTA is established as a showcase for the best of WA musical talent, and this year was no exception. The new venue at Burswood park was an excellent choice with ample space and more importantly, plenty of parking, and the decision to have an alcohol free zone in front of the stage is one of the wisest choices the organisers could have made. An excellent day, roll on SOTA 2020!

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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