words by Jess Sommerfeld // photos by Rick Clifford (@rcstills)
“..there was a sense of both excitement as well as tiredness amongst the masses as we descended from our makeshift pizza oven-like abodes..”
Being the it was the third and final day of the festivals Tasmania leg, there was a sense of both excitement as well as tiredness amongst the masses as we descended from our makeshift pizza oven-like abodes at some ungodly hour in the morning sun and wavered through the lines of people ordering bulk iced lattes. Excitement was no doubt due to the celebratory end of year vibes that would be themed through out todays sets and all culminating at that stroke of 12am.
I knew that my eardrums, mind, body and soul were in for a treat when I saw 7 incredibly talented beings grace the Field Stage bright and early. West Thebarton delivered a set list of utterly great tunes, and it is very easy to say that this 35 minute time slot would stay with me for quite some time. It’s such a lovely morning and to start the last day of 2018, West thebarton are the first act I am having the privilege of being able to watch and talk about.
Within 2 minutes of opening their set, singer Ray Dalfsen is jumping and flinging that microphone around like it’s no bodies business. The feeling I am getting instantly is that this band is just one big loud masterpiece, all instruments and vox being put to good use, the collective project of obvious masterminds!
Weaving in an out of classics and soon to be classics the Dalfsen shares some great banter and notes ‘fuck it feels nice to be in a beautiful fucking field’ but seriously, could he be anymore right? Mother nature has truly turned it on today, with an absolute stunner of a day to close out the year, that’s been 2018.
Clearly hydration is important on a day like today with the beaming sunshine, so naturally some beers are downed on stage before launching straight into their track bible camp that has the whole crowd jumping around and mirroring the onstage craziness - The older gentleman in front of me, doing little jumps and dance circles - it’s just an all round bloody great time and truly beautiful display to be able to witness.
The percussion in this band is so, so exciting to watch, straight up you have an incredibly amazing drummer (Caitlyn Thomas, holy shit). but you’ve also got an array of maraca and tambourine action that just emphasises the mental-ness on stage.
Noting that they want to close the year with a bit of love, West Thebarton change things up a little with a Florence and the Machine cover - a bit weird yep but it does work and they certainly share the love around with young and old punters doing a little slow bop together.
This band is a pure joy to watch - their genuineness shines through so much and it’s an absolute delight to get to watch 7 friends on stage doing their thing, with so much energy and many, many smiles all round. It's so obvious that they love what they're doing and this is so important for people to be able to witness and share - which I guess is what it’s all about; creating connection and being there for the ride with each other. This band should of headlined, I totally believe in them and really want them to do so well because there passion radiates from their live show through the whole crowd.
Interpol were my number one on this line up and if I could have it my way, we’d all be bringing in the new year to the melancholic tunes from this band although this wasn’t the case and that’s okay. As the production team set up the stage, it was so clear that I was just so beyond excited to see this band just before 2019 ticked over with my constant jittering and moving around.
Please note that this review isn’t going to a wishy washy set of adjectives arranged between what the band did on stage etc because this band has been at it for almost 22 years and it’s pretty bloody obvious that they know what they’re doing, at one point or another we would have had all the descriptive words thrown at them in previous reviews. SO with that little FYI in mind, I am going to just talk about how this set made me feel etc.
While Interpol are one of my favourites and I was super eager to see them play a festival - looking at the others on the bill, I already had reservations about how they would be received by a festival of mainly people wanting to see Vance Joys and young the young 20 somethings just wanting to get loose, with a side of not showering and listening to a dj mix other artists songs while munching away on some disco biscuits. Surely enough, my reservations unfortunately turned into a reality and while it was nice to not have a full crowd of dinging children at the start of their set - the vibe was all out and in turn, I felt bad for the band because I am sure they felt it too.
On that note, I danced away to Take You On A Cruise, did a few little spins and had a blast in their set that displayed a lovely mixture of old, older and brand newy’s off their most recent album ‘Marauder’ although suddenly it was their last song and it wasn’t Slow Hands.. no where to be seen/heard. Later I discovered, that this absolute HIT was in fact on their set list but I guess they felt as though this crowd was not Interpol enough for them so they bailed - I respect and can see why they felt this, but also WHAT ABOUT THE FANS MAN, there were certainly a handful of us there all hanging out for that one last classic of their 2004 gem Antics.
Anyway, Interpol at an Interpol show would be divine and I am very sad and all the words to describe being sad about not being in Melbourne this coming Friday 4th January to see them play a show of their very own at the Palais Theatre. Alas, this set was still jam packed with everything you’d expect from these New York City staples.
As the clock ticked over from 2018 to 2019, it was on the shoulders of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard to continue the celebrations. The Gizz are one of those bands that you can just stand there and basically feel as though you are floating away on some kind of psychedelic /cloud-like trip, even if you’re as sober as they come. Opening with some, short and sweet formalities like “Happy new year and all that” it’s not long before Rattlesnake starts up and the mosh begins to fill, with people literally sprinting their little hearts out to get in on the action.
King Gizz are a complete visual and audible piece of art, there are so many bodies with lots of hair playing many instruments on stage and each super talented body on stage does their thing in this way that just meshes with the person next to them, that brings about this complete atmosphere that you could only experience when you are witness to this magic.
Their sets always roll into one with incredible tempo/variations and all of the words to describe loud and soft, fast and slow that you can possibly think of - each track is evidently different although each are so intertwined, that you would just assume their set consists of only one extra long psych-rock ballad. 15 minutes in and they are now into their 2nd song which is usually 20 minutes long however, they’ve obviously had to cut it down for this hour long time slot.
It seems fitting for the Gizz to not run things according to plan and with that being said they left a few people feeling a little lost when Gamma knife didn’t turn into People Vultures although you could tell this didn’t particularly bother anyone as heads, arms and legs just continued move all the way through the next song.
Closing their set with The bitter boogie off their Paper Mache Dream Balloon album ended things in the best possible way - Falls Festival Marion Bay was now over (if you weren’t off chops about to dance until 3am with another DJ). These guys truly are Wizards and what they are offering, is pure psychedelic magic.