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The Best Kind Of One Night Stand

7 April 2016 | 11:53 am | Annabel Maclean

"It's so nice meeting people who listen in from these regional areas who you don't always get a chance to interact with..."

Triple j's annual One Night Stand is back this year after having a break in 2015 to focus on the Beat The Drum concert. "I had to come out on stage and let the people know that due to safety reasons we had to stop the show half way through 360's set," Alex Dyson says down the phone from Melbourne, almost reliving the horrible moment from the 2012 ONS in Dalby, Queensland. "I had a muddy jumper chucked into my face. People were not happy because they were keen for some Temper Trap and Temper Trap were there and they were probably the most disappointed out of everyone because they really wanted to play for the people of Dalby, and they came out on stage and they said 'I'm so sorry guys, the monitors are sort of under water at the moment'.

"They didn't want to risk a big electrocution. So unfortunately the organisers had to make the tough decision, which I don't envy them for doing… so that was a bit of a shame. But I'm sure the weather of Geraldton will be nice for us while we are up there to put on a big show."

"We've had really interesting offers from listeners already in advance for giving us lifts and we've got this one guy who is determined that we should stay at his house."

Indeed. Geraldton, located four and a bit hours drive on the coast north of Perth, is a relatively dry, hot and windy town. "We've got this one guy who's going to be our tour-guide," Veronica Milsom says. "He's really excited to let us know what local stuff we have to hit. He's been briefing us on the weather and the news about town. Very windy he says. Big emphasis on the wind."

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Veronica, who studied broadcasting at WAAPA, is excited to be heading back to Perth and checking out Geraldton for the first time. "It's going to be incredible and the response from people in Geraldton on the text line has been so fun," she says. "We've had really interesting offers from listeners already in advance for giving us lifts and we've got this one guy who is determined that we should stay at his house, which is just outside Geraldton and he's a chef so he wants to cook us all these meals and stuff… I've heard you're not allowed to go to Geraldton and not eat lobster. I am a vegetarian but I do partake in fish and I'm also a bad Jewish girl so I guess it's two strikes with lobster. You've gotta taste local stuff. All rules go out the window," she laughs.

Dyson, who along with Milsom, will also be popping his Geraldton cherry this ONS, is looking forward to the road-trip with Zan Rowe and the pre-party shenanigans. "The other good thing is maybe getting there on the Friday night because there's such a good vibe around the town, people are out and about," he says. "I remember at Tumby Bay in South Australia… things got a little out of hand as they tend to do. I remember Art Vs Science dancing on the pool table at the 'red roof' pub [Tumby Bay Hotel] and the Doctor got the busking guitar out and was singing along with another local, the pre-party is always exciting.

"It's so nice meeting people who listen in from these regional areas who you don't always get a chance to interact with — they tell you how much listening to music makes their day, gets them through their work or whatever it is they do during the day or in the evenings. So it's always a pleasure to interact not just at the concert up on stage but everyone at triple j loves getting out and having a chat with the locals who have lived there their whole life or made the trip just to be part of it."

"I remember Art Vs Science dancing on the pool table at the 'red roof' pub [Tumby Bay Hotel] and the Doctor got the busking guitar out and was singing along with another local, the pre-party is always exciting."

With a superb line-up boasting Alison Wonderland, Boy & Bear, Urthboy, Unearthed winners Alex The Kid and a ridiculously talented crew of guests, there's plenty to look forward to. "I'm particularly looking forward to Alison Wonderland's set," Veronica adds. "Apart from the fact it is always incredible, apparently it's supposed to be an unreal light show. Tell you what else I'm excited to see — basically Urthboy's latest album live on stage. Most of the features on his record are coming for the One Night Stand, which is pretty ridiculous."

"They're all great for difference reasons," Alex adds. "Urthboy has some incredible guests jumping up, like, Sampa The Great is going to be making the trip. She got the support from Kendrick Lamar in Sydney last week. So she's jumping up alongside Bertie Blackman who features a couple of times on his new album. She's a really great performer. Boy & Bear I got to see in Sydney a few weeks ago and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better live band."

The pressure is on Boy & Bear. The lads have just finished their Limit Of Love world tour and were exhausted but, now having spent some down time for a couple of weeks at home, vocalist and guitarist Killian Gavin says they're pumped to be playing ONS. "If my brain serves me well — although it often doesn't — I don't think I have ever been to Geraldton," he says from his home on Sydney's northern beaches in between cautiously boiling raw cashews as he attempts to make his first ever raw cheesecake. Literally. "I actually don't know what to expect from it either. After a quick glance at visitgeraldton.com.au I noticed two things that interest me however; one being Point Moore Lighthouse and the other being ONS!"

Killian is excited to see Patience Hodgson from The Grates take to the stage but, he says "It goes without saying that seeing Bernard Fanning, let alone sharing the stage with him, is always amazing. This will be a real treat for us to play a few songs with him." Yes, the five-piece will be bringing Bernard Fanning of Powderfinger fame along for the ride, although Killian's not giving away any set list hints. "Powderfinger are one of my all-time favourite bands," he says. "You'll have to wait 'til show time to see what we have planned but it's different to what you might expect… but I mean you could get Bernard singing Strawberry Kisses and it would be amazing." Here's hoping.

Also coming along for the ride and playing their biggest gig to date are Triple J Unearthed winners, local Geraldton punk-rockers Alex The Kid. "We are absolutely stoked to play the One Night Stand, vocalist and guitarist Ken McCartney says. "When we first heard the news it was so overwhelming and exciting; we are still so ecstatic. It's a huge honour to represent our town and it will be a huge rush to play to such a massive crowd but knowing it will be made up of so many of our friends and family makes it even more exciting!"

The lads, who were all born and raised in Geraldton, went to high school together. "Well our drummer went to school across the road from the rest of us but [we] still all [know each other] from playing in old bands together, old house parties, skateboarding, the usual teenage small town story," Ken continues. "James [vocals] actually met Trent [vocals/bass] in year 12 when James broke his arm attempting a board slide and Trent drove him to hospital on his P-plates. Trent won a certificate of merit at a school assembly for it."

Aside from their musical talents, McCartney has plenty of local knowledge and advice for those visiting Geraldton this weekend. "Take the Brand Highway if you're coming from Perth and are in a rush," he says. "After the gig be sure to head down to Breakers Bar or the Camel Bar or where ever in town if you're 18-plus and enjoy the night life. Leave a bit of time to go to the foreshore the morning after and have a swim if you pull up a bit rough. The beaches are amazing and are great for hangovers," he laughs. 

"For coffee — the Quiet Life or Jaffle Shack, for breakfast — the Salt Dish. The Wonthella Skate Park is the best in WA outside Perth in my opinion, Back Beach [Backers] is good for waves if that's your thing. The foreshore is great for a romantic stroll. Maybe avoid the Department of Transport office, the staff are great but it's not a great use of time."

So with all this advice on top notch places to visit and the ONS itself, it'll be a jam-packed weekend. "The word on the street at triple j is that after the Mildura ONS all of the artists and everyone from triple j went and did karaoke until like four in the morning and it was a really wild time," Milsom says. "So I'll be disappointed if there's not some Geraldton equivalent. Apparently it got very crazy."

Oh, and don't forget your legionnaire caps. "We're hoping to come along and check out the legionnaires around the place," Dyson says. "Hopefully the local police force has got the legionnaires on because the public needs to respect them and their jurisdiction during these large events so I think if they can spot the local coppers with the legionnaires on they shouldn't have too much trouble."