Live Review: Australian Music Week Thursday

20 November 2015 | 3:37 pm | Mick Radojkovic

"A Bob Marley cover, Redemption Song, was a timely reminder that Cronulla has redeemed itself with this diverse music festival."

For the first time, Australian Music Week has launched itself as a music conference and three day musical showcase in the peninsula that is Cronulla. This originally seemed like a strange location for a music festival, but after just one night we were converted to realising that this could become a solid entry in the Australian music calendar.

Cronulla, somewhat surprisingly, contains a lot of venues. The evening kicked off at the Sting Bar exhibiting one of the better known rock bands on the scene, Royal Chant. Their set was fuzzy yet tight and catchy as hell, showing off solid indie-rock numbers from their brand new LP, The War Cry Of Failure. New single, I Am A Model — which showed off Mark Spence's drumming and singing chops — was a highlight.

A short walk towards the beach found us at Zinc Bar with a refreshing spritzer, taking in Zefereli as the sun set. Alistair Richardson (The Cairos) and Clea Pratt were a great soundtrack to a blissful setting with their cruisy vibe and sweet harmonies. 

The next stop was a Mexican restaurant and venue, El Sol. The Owls belted out an enjoyable rock set while we enjoyed the yummy fare. They not only showed off exemplary tambourine skills but a few tracks that stood out for their diverse sounds, including new single You're Alright. They're a hard working band that are on the cusp of a new album and a potential payoff.

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The outdoor stages in the mall were a great set-up for this festival. The walk between venues revealed artists that you did not expect. An amazing voice echoed through the mall, leading to the discovery of Irish Mythen singing a beautiful track. Walk a little further up and Latin Ministry were encouraging salsa dancing in the twilight.

The surprise highlight of the evening was watching 21-year-old Ed Wells mesmerise the crowd at Croydon Lane. This talented pianist drew the attention of the bustling bar with his beautifully heart-wrenching vocals and impressive loop-pedal skills. The intricate layering of keys, vocals, beat-boxing and electronica added to the simple beauty that is one person and a piano.

The night wrapped up with a Fijian award winner. The solo guitarist Knox delighted the small audience at 2230 with his original songs, showing off his skillful finger picking and raspy passionate voice. A Bob Marley cover, Redemption Song, was a timely reminder that Cronulla has redeemed itself with this diverse music festival and converted one cynical reviewer.