FRONT ROW | MAROOCHY MUSIC & VISUAL ARTS FESTIVAL
It’s been a huge week for live music. From Tuesday to Friday, Bigsound took over Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley with dozens of up and coming acts gracing the stages scattered across Brisbane. After much debate on whether or not I had enough fuel in the tank to drive up to the Sunshine Coast city of Maroochydore for the second annual Maroochy Fest, it was decided that yes, yes indeed I would.
Maroochy Fest features three music stages, a mini art gallery, an interactive gaming centre as well as some of the best food trucks you could ask for. In fact, this year, they enlisted MasterChef runner-up Matt Sinclair took the festival’s food offerings to delicious new heights, alongside everything from wood-fired pizza to Latin street food.
At 11.30am, Vera Blue, one of my most anticipated acts, gracefully makes her way on stage. Pavey took command of the stage all the while being ridiculously happy and humbled in doing so. Her setlist flies through favourites such as Settle, Fingertips and finishing on breakout single Hold while managing to showcase some new songs, as well as her popular Like A Version cover of Jack Garratt’s Breathe Life.
Then Japanese Wallpaper took the stage, treating us to a set list containing favourites such as Cocoon, Breathe In and Waves. For the finale, Brisbane songstress Airling joins Gab on stage to perform the duo’s 2015 hit Forces. Although it was a little disappointing that he didn’t play my personal favourite, Between Friends, his set was still incredible.
Ngaiire took the stage, but I wasn’t familiar with her music so I couldn’t really get into the groove like the rest of the crowd. However, she definitely won me over with her current single House on a Rock becoming one of my favourites.
In the break between Ngaiire and Bad//Dreems, I stumble across the absolute gem that was the Ghetto Blaster Stage, about 100 metres at most from the main stage arena. This absolute pocket rocket of a dancefloor was very contained and very energetic. Throughout the 5-10 minutes I spent there, I was treated to absolute bangers to the likes of; Fat Man Scoop’s Be Faithful, DMX’s Up In Here, DJ SNAKE & Lil Jon’s Turn Down for What and of course, Jay-Z & Lincoln Park’s Numb/ Encore. A definite, well-needed pick-me-up from the chill vibes of the main stage.
Being freshly awoken from the Ghetto Blaster Stage, it was time to return to see South Aussie legends Bad//Dreems take over the stage. Think Violent Soho meets Men at Work – one of the most undeniably Australian acts doing the rounds. How else could you describe a band that literally started off their set with the advice to go get a $1 Bunnings sausage sizzle from across the road of the festival grounds (perfect location). The lads flew through a set including favourites Hoping For, Only Friend, Dumb Idea and finishing on the absolute pearler that is Cuffed & Collared.
At this point, the sun was starting to go down, and the Sunny Coast sun had eased off a little bit to transition into a cool twilight. Tom Gaynor, otherwise known as Allday, was next up on the bill. This was my first time seeing him perform but rocking a black and red Metallica T-shirt, jumping from side-to-side of the stage with every syllable, Allday proved to be one of the most hyped performers of the day.
The sun is behind the clouds now, but it’s still not night time. It’s perfect weather for Melbournians City Calm Down to take the stage. Pulling one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen for a daytime act, CCD absolutely blew everyone away. Jack Bourke’s smooth, deep voice having the ability to soar triumphantly out of this world to hit the absolute nail on the head every time is simply a feat of its own. Having been in love with this band since stumbling across their debut EP Movements back in 2013. The band impressed with songs Pleasure & Consequence, Son, Your Fix and Rabbit Run.
George Maple took the stage next, the first of the full night-time sets. She slayed on songs like Gemini (her collaboration with What So Not), Talk and a remix of Kendrick Lamar’s M.A.A.D. City and Beyonce’s Diva with high energy, pitch-perfect lyrics and on-point beats.
One of the festival’s main drawcards Matt Corby showed off his talents on the vocals, guitar and even flute-playing abilities throughout the set. The Sydney-sider delicately impressed, showcasing songs from his debut LP Telluric. Favourites such as Smooth Lady Wine, Monday, Resolution and Brother also impressed.
After Corby’s finish, the half hour between sets seemed longer than any of the others throughout the day. For this reason, I decided to go wandering again, and this time ended up at the Champagne & Oyster Garden stage. It’s here that I stumbled across Melbourne indie-punk outfit Batz and fell in love with their politically incorrect one-liners and brilliant tunes.
Then, party starters Peking Duk, basically a big ball of fun rolled into two human forms, graced the main stage. The set was introduced by a video of David Hasselhoff, and consisted of just absolute banger after banger. The bass drops were so heavy and full-on that you had to jump along to it. At points, I’d even wondered if they were secretly controlling the weather – it rained heavily for their first few songs but then died as soon as the music cut off. The duo; finished up with their biggest hit, High, with smoke machines galore and about twenty rolls of toilet paper being shot out into the crowd. It was great.
At this point, it was raining rather heavily. I decide to make my way back to the Champagne & Oyster Garden stage, where one of my absolute faves Alex Lahey was closing the night. She reminisced on the last few days of Bigsound in Brisbane, having played six shows in the last five days and relentlessly pursued for media interviews. She stated that Maroochy Fest was her favourite show of the last week, especially since everyone there was braving the heavy rains. Alex flew through a set including Ivy League, Wes Anderson, Let’s Go Out and of course, You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me.
Overall, Maroochy Music & Visual Arts Festival was incredible. For a festival only in its 2nd year of operation, it has already cemented itself as an important boutique festival. Keen as hell to see what they pull out of the hat for next year.