words by Jess Sommerfeld // photos by Rick Clifford (@rcstills)
“The fading sun and the view of Marion Bay contrasts and compliments the music to create an “all round” vibe of bliss..”
Locating a festival right near a glorious bay on the Tasmanian coastline is always going to be a good idea. Marrying music and scenery with a natural amphitheatre and an array of varying genre’s makes for a well rounded festival vibe and what better way to bring in a new year, amiright!?
An Early set on the first day, Hobo Johnson drew a crowd of eager festival punters underneath an ever growing ozone hole down here in Tassie, making things heat up quite literally but also figuratively as Frank (Hobo Johnson) takes the stage.
Making some requests first up, Hobo asks the crowd to have a little sing song with him, with repeating a few verses back to him, following his lead. I was so curious to find out how his live act measured up to his recordings and let me tell you, the resemblance was right up there with a mirror. Frank is a storyteller and the contrast between the ocean in the background and his expressive, in your face/hard to not be captured by presence was strangely complimentary.
Even though Hobo is talking about everyday things that most us of will relate to in one way or another, he expresses himself in an array of tones that make his voice so easy to tune into and really hear what he is saying (deep in your soul) with the various volumes and tempos he contorts his voice into that flow so nicely. There are other complimentary elements of Hobos performance, i.e. the connection and relation(at the same time, this urge to fist pump - or whatever is you do when you’re wanting to show someone on stage how amped you are for them while letting them know that you’re right there for the ride) whatever it may be. I mean isn’t this why people come to see live music?! BUT the thing about Hobo Johnson and the Love Makers is that, they help you connect and relate and be like ‘yep, I feel that’ and ‘damn, I love scones too’ while throwing your arms aggressively in the air.
Hobo played tribute to the year that was 2004, claiming that the best song came out of this year, the song we all know by the one and only Kelly Clarkson. Hobo doing Hobo and reinventing the track ‘Since you’ve been gone’ confused some people in the crowd but he was getting down and that meant that his vibe weaved into the crowd.
Hobo’s sound is weird and I like that, I think there are lots of people who are into him (obviously, hello 2 million social media followers) but the divide between those who like and those who don’t is quite defined - as I sit and listen to a few different groups of people (the ones who bring their children to festivals) dislike for Hobo and the love makers purely based on the fact that they didn’t get it. Even if I almost melted watching this set, it was worth every drop of sweat. You do you Hobo, rocking the cowboy hat and socks combo.
Some Advice from Hobo for all Fall’s punters - “Don’t drink too much fosters, smash it in your fucking faces”. Unfortunately(or probably more accurately fortunately), Fosters is no-where to be seen on this ‘not so bad for a festival’ priced drinks list.
The genre ‘Surf-Rock’ gets thrown around quite sporadically and I feel a lot of bands share this genre and fall into this category but Hockey Dad, hailing from a little place called ‘Winding’ in Wollongong, NSW not only sound the part, their look and entire vibe is on point.
As the sun fades and gets lower, the two guys that make up this band (yes! only two guys in this band, “Wizards” is probably a better descriptive) are welcomed on stage by a quickly growing crowd chanting ‘ h o c k e y d a d’ over and over. At this point I am understanding that Tassie loves this band and I’m also feeling a little embarrassed, old and super uncool about the fact that I have not listened to much of their music.
Opening their act with a little warm up of onstage cricket, the boys greet the Valley stage on night one with a big ‘Sup Tassie’. The band mentions that they didn’t get to Tasmania on their last tour(s) (yep, that’s a plural!!) and I am standing on a platform, watching a sea of people flooding into the crowd. There are bodies and arms moving and flailing around obviously excited to be in the moment where Hockey Dad finally makes the trip down to little old Tas.
The fading sun and the view of Marion Bay contrasts and compliment the music to create this “all round” vibe of bliss and even if you have never listened to Hockey Dad before now, it would be hard to not be into them at a venue like this. Their sound flows and moves all around and through out the bodies dancing on the green hill opposite the ocean. Google says their genre is Surf Rock and bloody hell - perfect combo, hello Google, you are right once again!
Walking on stage to the sound of church bells, Dizzee is a vibe of his own, let alone at 10.30pm on the first night of Falls Fest. Dizzee’s vibe on top of the festivals current ambiance eluded to get way down while getting really high at the same time - but ALSO taking care, which is a point he regularly made (very caring obviously).
Shoulder rides and dancing arms were the focal point in the sea of movement beneath the stage and it appeared as though Dizzee in this particular time slot was a combination and a half with the classic track ‘fix up look sharp’ going down a treat in the early stages of his set.
Through out the set it was clear that Dizzee was very into his women with continuous comments about Tasmania’s beautiful women and regularly stopping to check in with how the gals in the crowd were feeling. Another feat for Dizzee is seemingly his social media platforms with a social media guy (this is a real job) standing on stage, capturing every moment, angle and ‘heartfelt’ comment about the women in the crowd.
Dizzee’s chit chat on stage turned into the left and right sides of the crowd having a little bit of a friendly battle with a ‘fuck that side’ chant, being thrown back and fourth between the right and left sides of the crowd. Interesting concept but nonetheless the crowd was super receptive to Dizzee and his hype man and definitely obeyed when Mr. Hype guy screamed, Make Some Fucking Noy-iiiise!!!
Later on Dizzee shared his thoughts and feels to what coming to Australia was like for him, a holiday of course and this obviously lead him into classic Dizzee banger, A HOLIDAY, prime segue. Bonkers was always going to be the final song for Dizzee’s set and as you would expect, all of the peeps in the crowd were quite literally going bonkers to bid DR goodnight.