Saturday the 19th was an especially chilly evening; the ideal weather for Yours and Owls latest mini-festival The Last Frost.
UoW’s Innovation Campus might seem like an odd choice of venue for a music festival, but the space actually provided a fantastic mini-fest set up. Despite the all ages event not being a full day affair there were all of the usual attractions expected at an outdoor music festival. Two bars, food stalls, merch, amenities and, most importantly on a frosty night, heaters and fire buckets. A single stage sat across a large, flat lawn and Violent Soho were doing their soundcheck before the festival opened at 4:00pm.
When attendee’s were let into the venue there still seemed to be some set up happening, but this was quickly wrapped up as the space began to fill. A small crowd had formed by the time Mookhi, an electronic artist from Sydney, opened the festival with a killer set. A mix of DJ-ing and live trumpet playing was an odd combination that worked incredibly well. Once the set got going there was no stopping Mookhi, and the addition of vocalist Billy Rose created a dynamic show opening performance.
Next up was Sydney rocker Sloan Peterson. Blasting through songs from her recent EP Sloan delivered a heavier set than her recordings would allude to. The rocky vibes were felt in both singles, Rats and 105, which helped set the vibe for the rest of the nights performances and got the chilly crowd moving.
New Zealand shoegazer Fazerdaze took to the stage next, delivering a full band performance that was far more natural sounding then any recorded material. The raw sound suited the mood, and highlighted the incredible music that Fazerdaze is capable of delivering. A combination of great music and perfect performance led to one of the best sets of the festival.
Unfortunately sickness stopped Cub Sport from being able to play; however, fellow Brissy rockers Last Dinosaurs filled their set. The set was filled with some classic Dinosaurs songs, and their always-energetic performance got the whole crowd nodding along. Of particular note was a mid-set mashup that included a huge number of songs, including Modjo’s Lady (Hear Me Tonight) and Stardust’s Music Sounds Better With You, which saw an onstage instrument swap and lead vocals by bass guitarist Michael Sloane.
The Kite String Tangle delivered his performance heavy set next. While being joined on stage by a drummer helped create a live performance that was full of energy, Danny Harley wasn’t afraid to do his part to hold up the performance. Never still on stage he delivered all of his vocals perfectly, and achieved a live set that would put many other electronic acts to shame. However even crowd pleaser Given the Chance wasn’t able to tame a rowdy audience clearly still warming up in the slowly freezing air.
The final support for the festival was Aussie indie rockers Cloud Control. Despite being bassist Doug’s first gig with the band, Cloud Control was a tight, energetic operation. Scar saw the first full crowd sing-along, and the band unveiled the title track off their forthcoming album Zone. Frontman Alister Wright sustained stage movement the entire performance, and smashed out some amazing crowd-pleasing guitar solos. Cloud Control definitely set the mood for the nights headliners.
The crowd moved in close to the stage, and the huddles around the heaters at the other end of the festival rushed towards the stage as Violent Soho took to the stage. It became clear halfway through their first song, Viceroy, that The Last Frost was always really a Soho gig disguised as a festival – though the crowd didn’t really seem to mind all that much. Guitarist James Tidswell drew attention to an NRL game between the Illawarra’s Dragons lost to Soho hometown team the Broncos the night before, and let a disappointed fan know that they wouldn’t be playing Tinderbox but instead would play Neighbour Neighbour so that they could “share the victory.” The stage exploded with In the Aisle before some lyrics were mixed up in So Sentimental. Soho showed off their use of dynamics by bringing the energy down for Fur Eyes; “an oldie” Jesus Stole My Girlfriend; and crowd favourite Saramona Said, before bringing the entire crowd back in for a shout along in Like Soda. The band kept the huge energy from Like Soda flowing, kicking footballs into the crowd and launching straight into a show stopping performance of their massive hit Covered in Chrome. Some of the crowd seemed to think that this was it for the Brisbane grunge band and began to leave the stage; however the band had one more song left to deliver. Closing on Ok Cathedral was an odd choice and gave the set a cold ending, especially after the energy of Covered in Chrome, but there didn’t seem to be any complaints from the crowd as they made their way out of the festival.
Overall The Last Frost was a hugely successful mini-fest, with the full festival experience and all bands delivering amazing sets. Yours and Owls are clearly set on making the Wollongong music scene a huge player in the Australian industry, and The Last Frost highlights their ability to create hugely popular events that will achieve that.
– Josh Mills