Live Review: Falls Festival, Marion Bay - Day One

30 December 2015 | 1:01 pm | Rhys Anderson

"The highlight of a Ben Walsh set are the gadgets and gizmos the inventor brings to a stage."

day one

It’s one of those inevitable things, like elections or John Farnham coming back for one last tour. Falls Festival in Marion Bay is just what you do to welcome the new year in Tasmania.

Sun-browned hillside breaks into white sand coastline in the sprawling farmland of Marion Bay.

The first night of the festival - the aptly named ‘Boogie Nights’ - kicks off early in the 30 degree day on a small hillside facing away from the main stage at the local showcase Homebrew stage.

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Frankie Andrews’ sweet soulful lyrics and gentle guitar paved the way for heavier acts such as rock outfit JAX, a band who is doing exceptionally well on the triple j Unearthed charts.

Over at the field stage with the sun in full, brutal, flamey force, drum guru Ben Walsh brought punters out from the shade. The world-renowned drummer and member of the Tom Tom crew (comprising other powerhouse artists such as beatboxer Tom Thum) uses self-built vocoders and samplers to be able to do electronic synth percussion with his mouth while playing a full drum kit.

"Did anyone else as a kid get completely tripped out by the sound of the Mr Whippy van?" Walsh asks as he launches into a futuristic detuned rendition of the Mr Whippy theme.

Besides the amen breaks the highlight of a Ben Walsh set are the gadgets and gizmos the inventor brings to a stage. "You’re the third people who have had this set up live, even though I’ve been doing it for twenty years," he says as he introduces his drum wheel - an upcycled ring of drums and cylinders. Positioned vertically around him Walsh moves within them like a loosely hinged human pendulum.

Closers of the night Art Vs Science managed to win back the audience as the field filled to close to capacity. Bringing an energetic sound with live drums and live guitar, the band worked well to work the audience with great banter and easy to sing along lyrics. The crowd was also treated to covers of songs like Metallica’s Enter Sandman, and Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher.