Making my way through the crowd to perch myself in the best position possible, a sudden sadness fell upon me.It hit me that the man I had come to bare witness to is essentially one of the last frontmen standing from the phenomena we call “grunge”. But that sadness quickly lifted when Novocastrian, Grace Turner quietly made her way on stage to deliver a set of songs, some seemingly unfinished, but beautiful and authentic all the same. Her gorgeous voice floated over captivating chord changes and the cracks in her voice showed the true raw emotion that resides inside of her. Authentic. Relatable.
Saturday night saw three of the most exciting acts in Australian hip-hop turn the Oxford Art Factory into the sweaty pit it’s meant to be. Headliner Tkay Maidza, fresh off the release of her latest album, brought Kwame and Arno Faraji along for the ride. They bounced around the stage, giving the crowd all they had. For Kwame, it was a hometown show, which meant the crowd was even more raucous during his set. WOW, his latest hit, was a stand-out. But the night truly belonged to Tkay, who tore through her set with unwavering charm and energy.
In an attempt to cater for the Venn diagram that our headliners sit in, the bill for this evening sports two bands from very different schools of heavy music. Flaming Wrekage are beer-swilling, blokey traditionalists – the kind of band who would play the Stag on weeknights – while Shackles come from the more breakneck-paced school of songwriting, as employed by the likes of Napalm Death and fellow countrymen Extortion. The former make a valiant effort to win over the early arrivals – so moved is one front-row devotee, he averages three raised devil horns per song, which is an impressive quota by anyone’s standards. That said, they’re easily outperformed by the latter. Perhaps it’s a case of absence making the heart grow fonder, but the rarity of seeing Shackles play these days seems to make their sets all the more vital. They power through their set as if they’ve never been off the road, only stopping for a minor technical hitch. The crowd responds in kind, showing its first proper signs of movement as momentum builds. It’s good to have Shackles back, if only for a moment in time.Read More