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Live Review: Distant Murmurs Festival

20 January 2015 | 11:02 am | Scott AitkenLiam B

The diverse display of local music at this new festival was a hit with punters.

The Rosemount Hotel was jam-packed with sweaty punters braving the heat for Distant Murmurs, a new festival event hosted by RTRFM featuring 24 bands across three stages.

With their enticing sounds DJs Jamie Mac and Eddie Electric joined forces to help smooth out any tension the beer garden contained.

Kicking off at the main stage, the pop-infused folk sounds of Simone & Girlfunkle left listeners wanting more. Their effervescent personalities, coupled with their delightful harmonies, made their music genuinely fun and full of passion, which couldn’t help but put the audience in a happy mood.

Long Lost Brothers brought a very ‘90s alt-rock influence with a Something For Kate-esque element. Their crunchy guitar tones and jazz chord influences contrasted with heavy dynamic changes made for a very tasty show.

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Back at the beer garden, long-time RTRFM broadcaster and volunteer Cherie Carlo, aka The Whipcracker, got the crowd moving in the with bass-heavy dance tracks like Neoelectrique’s Come On Over and a Sunshine Classic remix of Miguel Migs’ So Far.

Next on was a mysterious DJ dressed in a silver chemical suit and a rat mask, known only as Tobacco Rat. His original hard-edged, Jungle-style beats were easy to groove to and the artist danced around while triggering a number of his hook-laden tunes.

Over at the main stage, folk-rock act The Painkillers kicked things off by smashing straight into a fast-paced set. Once the crowd followed suit the group brought them back down to earth with some slower, gentler material which showed off their great dynamic as a band.

Ghetto Crystals were next, powering through a hard-rocking set of originals plus some inspired covers, getting the crowd revved up with songs like Lil Mustang and Die 4 U before taking on NWA’s Fuck Tha Police, the cover ending up sounding more like a punk anthem than a hip hop classic but still full of all the bravado and angst you could ask for thanks to singer and guitarist KT Rumble.

As the first artist of the night over at Four5Nine Bar, solo artist Adem K bashed out some electric guitar and vocals over some original, eclectic backing tracks as well as using his ‘80s new wave synth to inject some of the nostalgia of Joy Division and The Cars into his music for solid set.

Not far from the likes of Midnight Oil and Men At Work, Eleventeen Eston & The Conversation brought some ‘80s Australian rock to the beer garden with their sax solos and chorus-effected riffs. The atmosphere created by their cruisy bass lines and smooth electric piano sounds was phenomenal.

With absolute power and swagger, Custom Royal exchanged their classy looks and punk rock with the Four5Nine crowd, which was packed in like sardines. Judging from the crowd’s reaction, it’s fair to say the charismatic four-piece has a lot of potential with their tight act.

Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics ignited the main stage with their high-energy mix of soul and funk, the band braving the heat in their matching black and white suits. They dazzled the crowd as punters eventually packed out the room to groove along to tracks like Wait In Vain and Box Me In, with Mercy’s energetic, soulful vocals playing off the fiery talents of horn players Ricki Malet and Alistair McEvoy as well as the rest of her talented band.

Getting back to a more chilled vibe in the beer garden, electronic musician Leaving produced some smooth, elegant mixes to appease the crowd while adding some soft drum samples to accent the melodic arpeggios in his songs wonderfully.

Hitting the Four5Nine crowd with some psyched-out fuzz-rock was relatively new three-piece The Pissedcolas. While the band only had 30 minutes to play, they managed to cram in a great set with tracks like Mind Detergent and Vacios as well as jamming up a storm on the tiny stage.

Five-piece Gunns showcased their ability to pull a crowd on the main stage with their steady fluctuation of dynamics along with a sneaky appearance from Eleventeen Eston & The Conversations’ bassist on guitar. Up next were Split Seconds, who had drunken fans dancing to their bright, guitar heavy tunes in what was an extremely impressive set expressing every inch of their instrumental capabilities.

Electronic rock trio Mayor Dadi were down a man or two for their show at Four5Nine but still delivered a fat-sounding set filled with epic tracks that blasted out of the speakers and grabbed the audience straight away. The sprawling ten-minute song Spiritualised began with guitarist and vocalist Brendan Cummins firing off some samples on his laptop before the rest of the band filled out the sound with a tight, pounding rhythm, capping their set off to a great response from the crowded room.

Stepping onstage to wind up his old-timey gramophone and fix himself a drink, Mathas looked calm and relaxed before his set began, but as soon as the music started things got a little darker. The hip hop artist hulked around the stage dramatically as he delivered tracks like Doctorshipping and White Sugar with a remarkable intensity that made him a highlight of the night.

Following the beautifully melodic sounds of dream-pop shoegazers Silver Hills at Four5Nine, Doctopus closed out the stage with a rapid-fire set of heavy punk jams. Stephen Bellair’s guttural vocals and slurred lyrics were punctuated by his frenetic bass work and the tight rhythm of the band which stirred the crowd into a frenzy, capping off a satisfying final performance at the stage.

Wrapping things up on the other two stages was solo electronic artist Naik, who closed out the main stage in spectacular style with his hypnotic, genre-tastic instrumentals and impressive light show while RTR’s Disco Science DJs kept the party going until the early hours of the morning in the beer garden, bringing to an end a great day of diverse local music.