Port Macquarie’s newest festival Memory Lane took place earlier this month in a colourful laneway, showcasing an array of local indie rock talents, sharing the line-up with acts such as San Cisco and Stonefield. The all ages event attracted a diverse crowd, although most were under 18 music lovers eager to forget about the stresses of being a student.
Promoter and Director of MJR Presents, Scott Mesiti recognised a gap that needed to be filled in the live music scene in Port Macquarie; “Every time we put a venue show on we get asked by under 18’s if they can come so we know there are kids out there that really want to see live music.” Mesiti says that he’s had his eye on the laneway for about five years and now has finally been able to put together an event that music fans of all ages were able to attend and enjoy.
With a great combo of talented local and national acts, street art and cool vibes packed into a Port Macquarie laneway, Memory Lane proved to be a big success
Misjudging travel time between Newcastle and Port Macquarie meant that I didn’t catch local acts Withernecks or Plebeian Groove, however the vibe upon arrival felt as though the day was running smoothly. The first band of the day was A Bear in a Man Suit, a four piece alternative rock outfit, originally from Port Macquarie now relocated to Newcastle (I’m glad they timed their trip right). They belted out some originals, as well as covering the Pokemon theme song, and turning Lisa Mitchell’s Neopolitan Dreams into a hardcore rock song. Their set was full of energy and surprises which kept the small crowd engaged.
Next up was Zefereli, The Cairos lead singer Alistar Richardson’s side project. Richardson took to the stage wearing a moon boot, however as the band started playing, all the attention was drawn to his smooth and alluring vocals. If you haven’t already listened to Zefereli, I highly recommend that you do. The band’s sound was charming punters as they swayed to songs like Are You My Friend, progressively getting more energetic as the upbeat track Once In A While played. They finished their impressive set with their latest single 54321, leaving the crowd with a solid reason to remember their name.
Guitar in hand, singer songwriter Patrick James began playing, as the eyes of the girls in the front row were fixated on the stage. His pleasing sound is reminiscent of The Paper Kites; it was very easy on the ears. His indie-folk jams were a highlight of the day, entertaining the young crowd while they danced in the sunlight filled laneway. Crowd favourites were the tracks from his debut album Outlier which he released earlier this year along with his cover of The Killer’s track Runaways.
Since winning triple J’s Unearthed High five years ago, Stonefield have been playing their infectious rock sound to packed venues – even gaining a spot on the line-ups of festivals like Glastonbury and The Great Escape. The four sisters gave an electric performance that stunned the crowd, a testament to how talented the band is. Playing a mix of old and new songs, Stonefield owned the stage. They even slipped in an epic cover of Black Magic Woman (the band mentioning that the crowd may be too young to know the song).
Headliners San Cisco were greeted with screaming teens and camera flashes, something they’re surely used to by now. They started with Golden Revolver and moved through their indie pop anthems, talking to the crowd about how they should visit Gracetown, a small town in Western Australia that their newest album is named after. The crowd’s energy peaked during their set as they jumped around to cheery tunes such as Bitter Winter and Too Much Time Together. Towards the end of the set, Jordi was left on stage alone with his guitar to perform Skool, before the band came back on to deliver their encore that sent the crowd wild.
The festival was a great showcase of talent in music and art for the dedicated all ages music fans. The Laneway was filled with colourful flags and wall art which punters happily contributed to; ticket holders were well behaved with no major issues as the music brought together the crowd. The event was a success, and a really exciting thing to be happening for the small town of Port Macquarie. Hopefully the event returns along with more positive vibes and captivating musical performances.