Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram

The Money War, Moana & More Review WAMFest 2018 For Us

9 November 2018 | 5:38 pm | Staff Writer

A massive celebration of all things WA music, the annual WAMFest took over Perth venues last weekend with an epic line-up of emerging and established artists. We had a handful of artists on the bill share their experiences at the main event on Saturday.

Carmen Pepper (The Money War)

My personal favourite from WAM Festival 2018 was singer-songwriter Camarano who played an intimate gallery-style show at Paper Mountain with his five-piece band. They played tracks off his debut EP and his new single Table Mountain was a real highlight. Seriously good songwriting and they really pulled off a confident and energetic live show in such an intimate setting. Definitely one to watch out for!

JFK delivered an energetic set to a very receptive crowd on the Lot Party stage. This was my first time seeing JFK live and lead singer James Knox grabbed my attention from the beginning with such a powerful and unique vocal. 

Over at Badlands we caught Peppermint Club who played some smokey '60s jams from their debut album that came out a couple of months ago. If you’re into chilled, harmony-laden love songs, check them out.

Jemma Bradford (KOPANO)

WAMFest is my favourite time of year for WA music because it’s like walking into a candy store except all the sweet treats are wonderful, talented musicians scattered all across Perth for everyone to see.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

On Friday night I watched Tanaya Harper at Capitol as she promised to perform her Some Kinds EP with a full band consisting of friends from local bands Ghost Care and New Talk. She captivated the stage in a red dress and sang with sincerity, charm and conviction. I’ve watched Harper multiple times and it was rewarding as a friend to see her play to a full room as a soloist and now with a band, delivering a sound that replicated dreamy guitars and '90s nostalgia.

Saturday was packed as I raced down to catch the end of Platform 2 at the Lot Party where I could hear Grace Newton-Wordsworth’s voice as I walked past Yagan Square. It soared over to me with such power and control backed up by quirky guitar riffs and a positive energy. It was a delight hearing new material and I can’t wait for them to release it.

Straight after was Man Sandal and Didion’s Bible. Both bands flaunted their virtuosity and ability to be unique in their own right. I was proud to see so many kick-ass women in Man Sandal especially Clancy Davidson on vocals and violin and I couldn’t help but be sucked in by the nature of Didion’s Bible’s front man Drew with his bizarre and wonderful onstage banter. I fell in love with their dynamic of spoken word and instrumentals similar to Talking Heads.

After a break I went back and watched Priscilla the new electronic, synth-pop duo on everybody’s lips who absolutely killed the stage with dank synth lines (that’s the only way I can describe it) that made you want to boogie! Priscilla Gardner herself has one of the best voices to ever come out of Perth with an extensive range that comes across as effortless. Not only are they fantastic musicians, including their female drummer but they are also socially conscientious people with their single Don’t You Realise? addressing the plebiscite and everyone’s freedom to love.

I also watched Shy Panther and Ah Trees who equally packed out the Bird both contrasting in their sound with Shy Panther delivering an alternative niche in their songs led by their vocalist whose falsetto completely wrapped around me in all its sky-high glory. I felt like I just walked into a speakeasy and they did not shy (see what I did there) from being the night’s entertainment. Ah Trees is an all time favourite of mine as I danced inside the green room warming up to their catchy melodies and palm-tree summery goodness. I know for a fact they had the crowd dancing all the way to their last song How Long Must We Wait which was announced as their latest single.

You may have seen me play at the Bird with my orange hair and sequinned dress covered in flames, guns and lips. I hope you enjoyed my synth pop creations and I thank the team at WAM for having me but the ultimate privilege and joy of WAMFest is listening to all the music Perth has to offer and boy do we have a lot to give! I am so humbled and proud of that and it's thanks to WAM that we are able to show audiences, old and new how awesome Perth’s musical community can be. 

Austin Rogers (MOANA)

The shoulders start swinging side to side before the body overtakes that little bit of social anxiety and begins to shake uncontrollably - the floors hit like a welcome smack to the face.

Luke Dux's signature howl is one of the finest pleasures a Perth punter can sign up for, his insane guitar work only adding to the auditory seduction.

The rhythm section carries the crowd on a journey towards complete auditory obliteration, with each note of the bass vibrating the seats of the entire venue and the violently enthusiastic drummer bringing the whole beautiful mess together.

The Floors are less a traditional blues-band than they are a dirty ensemble of storytellers speaking through riffs - they hold onto the groove of their spiritual ancestors, but deliver it with their own hard hitting flair, easily separating them from your common Muddy Waters worship band. That's without even accounting for their intense heavily driven strings making your brain vibrate as if it were trying to escape your skull.

It all comes together, in terms of genre, as somewhere between garage rock and blues; where the timbre of the roaring vocals and sharp ripping of the guitar juxtaposes perfectly with the sultry swinging of the rhythm section.

For this reviewer this is all expressed perfectly in Pills, the lead single from their 2017 LP Beat It Down - their performance of said track on the night making clear waves through the audience.

The three-piece outfit tear through a half-hour set for the eager crowd inside Badlands, enough time for the guys to showcase their wares but perhaps not long enough for them to kick into full gear and completely connect with the audience. In any case, I left the room extremely satisfied and found myself singing You Got To Move internally until I made it home to a well-needed rest.

Chris Gardner (Flyball Gov'nor)

A friend told me, “A good conference should leave you with more questions than answers,” over lunch on the Friday of WAMCon.  In that sense, the conference was a roaring success in my mind. MLA for Perth, John Carey, put an impassioned call out to creatives that opened up worlds of discussion about what can be done on a government level to maximise the creative potential of the city. Keynote speaker Don Letts’ lyrical musings on his place at the birth of the UK punk scene and the vastly different economic, social and psychological conditions between then and now was as inspirational as it was enlightening.  

Interestingly, during his Saturday lecture, Professor Patrik Wikstrom delivered something of a genealogy of modern music streaming services which, to my mind, completely flipped Letts’ interpretation of the modern musical scene on its head, and I mean this in a good way; it’s not that one speaker was right and the other wrong, more so that both illuminated ideas on music distribution and the relationship between art and culture that had, before the conference, never even crossed my mind.  It feels superfluous to add that all the bands I saw were excellent and that the community of local creatives is a diverse, progressive and wholly welcoming bunch, but on top of being a mind-expanding head trip, it was also a bloody rad time. 

Conor Lawson (J.F.K)

As I arrived at WAMFest, Jamilla was midway through her set. There was a super nice atmosphere, the sun was out and everybody was having an awesome time. Her soulful vocals sat really well in the mix and with her R&B beats, she took control of the stage and the audience followed.
Noah Dillon was up next. His authentic Australian brand of indie rock really spoke to the crowd, with all attention on him and his band. The honesty in his lyrics mixed with his charmingly awkward stage presence had everyone fully immersed in the experience that is Noah Dillon. I’m also very happy he played a favourite of mine, The Man I’m Not

Salary are a band I’d never seen before. I was not disappointed. Their quirky folk tunes had the crowd boogieing and even though there were nine of them on stage, the songs still managed to have great dynamics and the instrumentals really complimented each other. After Salary, Priscilla were up. I saw most of their set from the top of the hill, just side of stage. It was nice watching the whole crowd dance to their infectious electro pop tunes from a higher viewpoint.

I caught most of Axe Girl’s set, another band I hadn’t seen before. Their vocalist brought a huge energy to the event, rocking out super hard!
I was backstage prepping for our set but I still managed to feel the energy of hip hop artist Hyclass. It certainly made setting up a lot more fun.
Next up was JFK. It was awesome to get such a good response from the audience. I remember coming to WAMFest a few years ago and dreaming to one day be playing the Lot Party stage to an enthusiastic crowd. It was super awesome to have the opportunity to live that dream.

Demon Days were on after us. I packed up as quickly as I could to get a chance to dance to some of their tunes. I only managed to catch the last few songs but I was impressed, as always, and the whole crowd was grooving along to their jazzy nu-soul songs. They ended the set with an old one of theirs and a personal favourite, Lost In Translation.

Overall, the Lot Party was definitely a gig to remember. I was honoured to be playing alongside such awesome musicians. Perth has such an awesome musical community and it’s great to be a part of that.