Taking place in the spacious Mount Penang Parklands in Kariong, Mountain Sounds Festival returned for its third year on Saturday, bringing creative talents to the forefront. With Violent Soho headlining, it was guaranteed to be a good day.
Mountain Sounds was back for another year of great music, great vibes, and crisp mountain air. We were there to scale its heights, and it was brilliant.
Labelled on the map as “visual village”, a bunch of talented artists created pieces of live art in front of gathering crowds. The whole festival was one big visual village to me, as something quirky was found in every direction. Art installations included mannequins on roofs, teddy bears hung on trees, bras dangling from a milk crate tower (#freethenipple), a giant inflatable face that was painted on during the day and a bunch of other cool displays.
Mountain Sounds had stepped up their game, making sure the crowd was provided with everything needed to have a good time. The only thing missing though was the sausage sizzle tent which I ate at last year for under $5. I will admit that the food options were still good, but my wallet didn’t agree.
Entering the festival, there were too many things to look at to stay at one stage for too long. We visited Kinder over at the Bus Stage, two sisters from Newcastle who both DJ, produce, compose music and sing, as they entertained the punters who turned up early.
Indie three-piece band The Moving Stills opened the festival over at the Unicorn Stage, followed by Sydney-siders World Champion and five-piece outfit Green Buzzard. Ticket holders were scattered around the festival site, most were taking a seat in Couch Land or on the hay bales near the stages, taking it all in before the festival was filled.
I Know Leopard were next to hit the main (Unicorn) stage, parts of the crowd drifting from their seats to get closer to their indie pop sounds. Highlight of the set was anytime the violin was brought out – it’s not an instrument you often hear in a band but it worked so well. Security guards weren’t letting anyone in the crowd within two metres of the barrier, which quickly became a problem for Hockey Dad when they began playing. Punters were being pulled out of the crowd for moshing/having fun- with some even being pepper sprayed.
Drummer Billy Fleming stopped halfway through a track and took to the front of the stage, grabbing the microphone and standing up for those in the crowd, telling the security guards (basically) to let the crowd have fun. After he finished, the crowd were allowed to stand at the barrier and the boys on stage picked up the song from where they left off. They played a mix of new and old tracks, favourites of mine and majority of the crowd being I Need a Woman and Seaweed.
The pair from Wollongong gave everything they had and made sure the crowd were able to enjoy their set how they should be able to, by jumping around or doing whatever the hell they want to while listening to their music. Punters weren’t there to hurt each other, they were there for the music!
I’ve seen Harts once before and was blown away by his talent. Wondering if he could match that performance at Mountain Sounds, I waited in the photo pit for him to arrive on stage. From his first song, his energetic performance engaged the crowd as they watched in awe as he shredded on guitar. If you are yet to see Harts perform live, you really need to sort out your life. His live performance is incredible – and Mountain Sounds was no exception, the crowd loved him! His much loved track Red & Blue seemed to be the crowd’s favourite.
Keeping the energy alive, The Delta Riggs piled onto the stage to perform tracks such as Supersonic Casualties and Rah Rah Radio. Frontman Elliott Hammond made use of the spacious area; jumping onto platforms, running around in the photo pit and leaning into the crowd singing. After the girls in the front row let their tight grip around Hammond’s waist ease, he was back up to the stage to pick up his guitar for the next songs.
While sitting down eating in the shade during a short break between sets on the main stage, my friends and I were visited by many drunk punters who needed to lie down in the shade as their friends reminded them that the amount they had drank was a mistake, one that happens too often. I ventured back to the photo pit ready for Holy Holy.
They changed the mood moving into the night with their soothing sounds, rolling through their tracks with You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog and “Monday” included in the set list. Timothy Carroll’s vocals were a perfect fit for the golden hour of soft sunlight and an opportunity for punters to recollect themselves before dark.
Alpine delivered what I think was one of the best sets of the day. Vocalists Lou and Pheobe were so in sync and overly energetic that their performance was incredibly entertaining to watch. There was so much happening on stage, I didn’t know where to direct my attention. They harmonised perfectly during their tracks and the rest of the band followed their consistent liveliness.
In between songs they connected well with the crowd who all seemed to be jumping around just as much as the girls on stage. After running out from the photo pit and joining my friends in the crowd, Damn Baby was played and damn it was good. Another crowd favourite was Foolish and of course, Gasoline which will always hold a place in our musical hearts.
Wandering over to the Sailor Jerry Stage we soon realised the set times had been changed around and meant that Ocean Alley were on when Skegss were set to play. I hadn’t seen Ocean Alley before but was pretty impressed with what I caught of their set. Someone sadly decided to ruin their guitarists night though by stealing his blue Fender Telecaster.
Proudly sporting Keep Sydney Open t-shirts in the dance tent, Art Vs Science took to the stage with an uproar from the crowd. As expected A.I.M Fire! and Magic Fountain sent the crowd into a frenzy. The band spoke about their frustration about Sydney’s lockout laws and played their track that they wrote about this issue.
Leaving their set early to be over at the main stage in time for Violent Soho, we paused at the stage Skegss were playing on before doing an awkward fast paced walk/run when looking at the time. We were only allowed in the photo pit for one of Violent Soho’s songs, which was packed with photographers that I hadn’t even seen all day.
They opened with Dope Calypso and as soon as the track began, the crowd went mental, as did the band. This was my first time seeing Violent Soho and certainly won’t be my last. We were rushed out of the pit after Dope Calypso came to an end, as the band went straight into Lowbrow.
The occasional raindrops throughout their set were welcomed by the crowd as they partially washed away the sweat that glued the mosh pit together. Their set was mixed with old and new tracks, which was accompanied by a view of umbrellas up in the air and hay being thrown around in the crowd. Any prop punters could carry; they had it in the air.
The moonlight was covering the festival grounds as Violent Soho smashed out Saramonda Said, Fur Eyes and more. The peak of the set was (you can probably guess) Covered In Chrome, which was followed by their last track of the night Okay Cathedral. Their set was euphoric.
Until next year Mountain Sounds, thank you for putting on such a great festival.