Since the departure of Fat As Butter, music fans around Newcastle and surrounds have been hoping for a bigger and better event to take its place. The new festival THIS THAT took charge and last weekend provided the city of Newcastle with a massive celebration of music, food and culture. Despite the overcast and windy weather, music fans of all ages poured into the festival grounds to take part in the celebration.
Kicking off it’s inaugural year with a bang, THIS THAT proved to be a resounding success with a day chock full of great artists and great vibes.
Local progressive rock band Majora kicked off the festivities on the THIS Stage. There were quite a few punters who had come early to see them, mainly the older ones who have realised to get the most out of the day at a festival you should try to catch the earlier bands too. The Triple J Unearthed featured artists impressed the growing crowd with tracks from their debut EP Iridescent which they released in August. Melbourne hip-hop artist Ivan Ooze attracted a more energetic crowd as they flocked to the front of the stage for his set. Fans attempted to rap along to his fast flow of lyrics but Ivan Ooze (aka Ben Townsend) proved to be too quick for the (already) drunken punters.
Indie pop goddess Asta graced the stage, the Tasmanian singer-songwriter greeting the crowd with My Heart Is On Fire. Having to hurdle technical difficulties (the PA system cutting out midway through the popular track Dynamite), Asta regained the crowd’s attention with her powerful voice and skipping rope skills. Although there were issues with the sound during her set, Asta’s talent still shone through (and I let her know that when I ran into her in the food truck line).
Wandering through the festival, it became apparent that the layout was ideal as the space was used to its full potential. Walking into “the other” you were greeted by what appeared to be a pirate stage, people throwing bags of colour around (which not everyone was impressed by), a tepee with a sign offering nipple readings, the OTHER stage where local DJs were doing their thing, scattered beds and lounges and a selection of various Hunt & Gather market stalls.
Venturing further to find the THAT stage, covered by a giant marquee with oversized stars hanging from the ceiling. Hanging around the THAT stage the likes of Kilter, Slumberjack, The Kite String Tangle, Carmada and Baauer were tearing it up. Heading back to the THIS stage, Adelaide rap queen Tkay Maidza bounced in, wearing the coolest overalls and a powerful long red cape (credit to Emma Mulholland and Kurt Johnson). It’s always a blast being a part of a crowd stomping their feet like a Brontosaurus to Miadza as she smashed through her much loved tracks. The crowd, now a lot bigger, reflected the energy Maidza was showing on stage; not holding back, allowing them to fully enjoy her energetic and entertaining set.
The Jungle Giants performed just as it began to rain, which prompted the crowd to connect with the music, whether that was on the ground or on someone’s shoulders (maybe wanting to get a better look at lead singer Sam Hales’ bright orange velvet shirt). They played a mix of older songs and new ones from their album Speakerzoid, Hales’ voice entrancing the packed festival grounds. A highlight would have to be bass player Dooris’ dancing and his smile that expanded each time he looked out at the crowd. The Brisbane four-piece have evolved their sound, keeping the intensity of their always pleasurable live performance. I wasn’t ready for their set to come to an end, but the crowd then realised that this meant Sticky Fingers‘ set was approaching.
Punters chanted “Sticky, sticky, sticky” as they eagerly waited for the Sydney band to appear. The five-piece favourites ran onto the stage, Freddy Crabs kicking a soccer ball into the crowd (which later made its way to the photo pit, hitting me in the head). The sweet sounds of Sticky Fingers made the knock to the head worth it, as it became a massive sing along to tracks like Caress Your Soul and Australia Street. The band have improved their live performance, sounding tighter, the sound and vibes only getting better the further they delved into their set.
Birds of Tokyo charmed the crowd which was now stretching back too far for anyone but the camera drone to see. The Perth rockers smashed out their hits to the welcoming crowd, as they chanted the lyrics back to the stage. Their track Lanterns was definitely a highlight (pun intended). RÜFÜS were a perfect finish to the festival as they had punters in a trance. Their alternative dance sound travelled through the crowd, giving them the chance to exert whatever energy they had left. Fireworks went off as RÜFÜS finished, signalling the day filled with THIS, THAT and the OTHER had come to an end. Thank you for an incredible day THIS THAT, hopefully we will see you again next year for more good times and new music galore.