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WA DAY Concert June 4th 2023 with Baby Animals, Mark Seymour and the Undertow, Voyager, South Summit, Boox Kid, Dulcie, Priscilla, Mitch Santiago

| 13 June 2023 | Reply

WA DAY Concert June 4th 2023 with Baby Animals, Mark Seymour and the Undertow, Voyager, South Summit, Boox Kid, Dulcie, Priscilla, Mitch Santiago
Review & photos by Pete Gardner

Weather – minus 300%

Voyager – Douze points

Mark Seymour & Baby Animals – 100% for performing in atrocious conditions


The annual WA Day free festival – formerly State of the Art or SOTA – is a celebration of West Australian Music held at Burswood Park alongside the Swan River. This year, however, courted a great deal of controversy with the inclusion of two headliners with no connection to Perth or WA.

As much as we love Mark Seymour and Amy Shark, their inclusion in the line-up needs to be questioned. It seems the organisers saw fit to break the format, creating a great deal of noise on social media as a result, and even the West Australian newspaper got in on the act criticising the promotors. (I rarely agree with the West, but on this they were, for once, on point!)

That said, it seems the Western Australian rain spirits showed their displeasure, with a downpour so hard that Amy Shark’s set was pulled as water poured onto the stage, threatening the lighting equipment.

Opening the day was young singer/songwriter Mitch Santiago, a talented multi-instrumentalist, and excellent songwriter. Playing an enjoyable set to a mostly empty arena, like so many openers before him, sadly, Mitch set his songs up with series of drum and keyboard loops to accompany him on guitar. His songs were reminiscent of Spacey Jane in tone, and thoroughly enjoyable. Since he is still only in his teens, I can imagine he has a very strong career ahead of him.

Up Next: electro-pop duo Priscilla. Driven by the wonderful voice of Priscilla Gardner (no relation), and Luke Minness on keys, the duo performed their recent releases to an appreciative and slowly growing crowd. Being the first performer to acknowledge country, Gardner asked to audience to “decolonise” their playlists and put some more excellent First Nations music on there, and she does have a point considering how good some of the later acts like Boox Kid and South Summit are. Her appeal, however, highlighted the lack of a Welcome To Country to start the festival this year, another indication that the organisers were surprisingly tone deaf.

Dulcie have been getting some triple J love recently, and deservedly so, their gorgeous close harmony indie pop going down well with the all ages crowd. They delivered another really enjoyable set, and I do suggest checking out their music, especially Test Drive, available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I first encountered Boox Kid last year at the Strings Attached guitar festival in Margaret River, where he was giving a workshop to kids and teens on using Ableton to write music (my lad was attending so I snuck in the back). His solo show there was a showcase of his songwriting talent, so it was good to see him with a full band. It is very difficult to pigeonhole Boox Kid, with a mix of indie, solo acoustic and even touch of reggae in places. Again, check out his excellent voice and songwriting on the usual streaming services.

The weather had been noticably cooling during the last couple of sets, and Boox Kid and band were stood much further back on the stage. The reason became obvious as the first spots of rain began to fall hitting the front half of the stage as their set was winding up.

By the time Triple J Unearthed Band Of The Year nominees South Summit hit the stage, the crowd were up and dancing along despite the rain beginning to make its presence felt. They delivered a powerful driving set of indie grooves, and by the end there were so many clear plastic ponchos it looked like someone had glad wrapped the crowd.

By this point the concert enclosure was at its fullest for the day, as the real headliner for most people took to the stage. After their dream run at Eurovision, selling out shows across the UK and having to upgrade the venue for their upcoming Perth show (now at Magnet house) why Voyager were not top of the bill I can only guess. I can only surmise that the other acts had been booked well in advance and were not giving up their headlining slots!

Ever the hard working band, Voyager set up their own kit on stage, before launching into a great set. Being their first homecoming show since Eurovision, the joy of the band was obvious, with singer Danny Estrin grinning ear to ear for the entire set. Hitting the ground running with Hyperventilating, Colours in the Sun, and new singles, Prince of Fire and Submarine, Voyager were easily the biggest hit of the day. Drifting into Eurovision territory the song Dreamer, from their initial Eurovision/Australia Decides attempt, was followed up with a brilliant rendition of Promise, sounding much better than the Eurovision performance with all the saccharine shackles of Eurovision removed.

Unfortunately, at this point, the weather suddenly made its presence felt, forcing the band off stage due to the risk of lightning. The crowd waited patiently for about 20 minutes until the band returned and apologised they could not finish the set. Derigging their equipment Voyager waved their farewells to a disappointed audience. Their 17th June show is sold out now – if you’re amongst the lucky ticket holders, you’re in for a great night.

With the rain starting to really come down, the Showgrounds began to rapidly empty, leaving only the hardened festival goers standing in the downpour.

Maybe Mark Seymour and the Undertow should not have been playing at a day celebrating WA Music, but he did give a masterclass in how a professional showman performs in such adverse conditions. A good solid set including magnificent renditions of Holy Grail and When the River Runs Dry left the crowd happy in the rain.

The widely advertised Drone show to follow Seymour’s set obviously did not go ahead, because they would have lost all their drones, but the satisfying firework show did, although most of the crowd and especially families had exited the Showgrounds a couple of hours before. I couldn’t help but wonder if they used waterproof fireworks?

Baby Animals (who, by default, became the headliners of the day, fittingly) delivered another blindingly brilliant set in the now torrential rain, with the very wet audience still singing and dancing along as singer/guitarist Suze DeMarchi gave an energetic performance. Chugging beers and spending plenty of time at the front of the stage in the heavy rain in solidarity with the stoic diehards in the crowd, she proved herself at one with the fans.

With a short break as the stage was reset for Amy Shark, complete with big light up logo, and several sets of lighting around the floor of the stage, it became obvious very quickly that there was a problem. As the set was about to start at 8.15 the tarps went onto the kit. The canvas stage roof was sagging under the weight of the water, and the seams began to split pouring water onto the instruments and lighting. It was only a few minutes later Amy Shark herself came on to the stage to break the news and apologise that her set was not going ahead, as she told the crowd to go home and get dry. It was a major disappointment, but at this stage, I think most people were a bit relieved.

It’s a good few years since I’ve been this wet at a show, and my boots raincoat and camera gear are still drying out, but with that said, despite the controversy, The WA Day 2023 concert delivered, less bands than previous years, but all quality performances. I’ll be back again next year, and we will see if the promotors learned their lesson. The weather gods have spoken.

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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