Surprise Shows, DJ Neneh Cherry & A Whole Lotta Lasers - What We Loved At Day Two Of Mona Foma

20 January 2019 | 1:40 pm | Jessica Dale

"At times it feels like that boat scene in 'Willy Wonka' but in a weirdly comforting way."

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Those who didn’t have wayyy too much fun at Faux Mo last night are up early and enjoying the local Harvest farmers market, which this week includes some Mona Foma performances as well as Launceston’s best produce.

After enjoying the fresh air and some local coffee blends, we make our way to Albert Hall to see Satu Vanska & The Tasmania Symphony Orchestra. A single flute starts off the concert, with the sound of a bird chirping joining in soon after. The noise of a flock eventually becomes so overwhelmingly loud it brings a tear to the eye during Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus - Concerto for Birds & Orchestra, with Vanska then walking out as the lights go down at the end of the movement. It’s chilling when the first string is plucked as she enters into her solo performance. The conductor soon returns and Vanska stays to accompany rest of orchestra for the final, incredibly impressive, movements. It is, in fact, so good that the crowd won’t let them leave until they take three bows.

We head back to the Inveresk Precinct and a met by the sound of Kuniko Kato’s marimbas, which we are more than bloody pleased about. It’s a welcoming sound to enter the Precinct to for day two and many are making the most of it, moving chairs into the shade and taking in some down time with a beer. It’s a big day of music programming with highlights including a masked Jonathan Bree (and accompanying masked dancers and band) and Southeast Desert Metal who both draw enthusiastic crowds.

There’s a guttural howl from the stage that gets everyone’s attention before Mulatu Astatke’s set, which apparently belonged to a streaker getting their five minutes of fame. We’re informed by Black Jesus Experience, who are joining Astatke this evening, that it’s the end of the nudity for their set. Seeing the the legendary artist is the perfect way to ease the crowd into the night.

At this point, there’s a line growing for the ‘mystery slot’ at the Annexe. It was announced earlier in the day that Courtney Barnett would be playing an intimate set ahead of her Sunday night festival appearance. Roughly 160 people scored a spot for the solo show, which included tracks Avant Gardener, Need A Little Time, City Looks Pretty, Nameless, Faceless, Depreston, and Sunday Roast, as well as performing an incredible cover of Gillian Welch’s Everything Is Free.

“It’s a real pleasure to be here, I’ve always wanted to play this festival,” shared Barnett. “Thanks for coming out tonight.”

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Neneh Cherry plays under a full moon, something she notes to the crowd early on. It’s the biggest crowd for this weekend’s festival so far, with people rushing from all over the grounds to score a spot. Cherry delivers a fun, funk filled set that has the crowd dancing along and in the perfect mood to head to their next stage of the evening, but of course, not before an encore performance that included 7 Seconds.

A busker makes the most of the exiting festival crowd, playing us out as we walk back over to Albert Hall to experience Robin Fox’s light installation, The Launceston Constellation. We walk into the blacked out hall, people lying on the ground, staring up above them as lasers hit crystal balls dangling from the roof to create light projections all across the room while an intense soundscape plays. At times it feels like that boat scene in Willy Wonka but in a weirdly comforting way. Get to it if you can, it’s more than worth it.

Another huge night of Faux Mo is here and our highlights include Sydney post-hardcore punk group Canine, who are probably one of the first to get a pit to open at Lonnies Nightclub, and Neneh Cherry’s DJ set, where she tells us that she’s ‘just going to play some tunes’ and tunes she does, getting the crowd happily dancing along while someone in a Victorian-era costume walks through the crowd cooling us with their fan.