Live Review: Sneaky Sound System, Bleeding Knees Club, Oceanics - Surfers Paradise Beach

26 June 2012 | 12:35 pm | Carley Hall

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Now in its third year, the Surfers Paradise Festival has a surprising range of solid talent pegged for the 2012 bill, accommodating hefty names like Hoodoo Gurus, Ash Grunwald and Last Dinosaurs over the coming fortnight; luring punters with big names to catch burgeoning local acts is a smart move by organisers. What's increasingly unsurprising is that there's more than enough talent waiting in the wings to showcase the Gold Coast's unique and vibrant sound.

Kicking off Hard Rock's Launch !t event, GC foursome Oceanics plunges the as yet small crowd into their upbeat take on indie-pop. Elliot Weston's pure and pleasing vocals cascade over some fine guitar noodling and catchy rhythmic hooks. Working through singles Jukebox, Chinatown and Indigo Lane from their Bright People EP, the boys debut a couple of new songs and it's all sweet melodies and jangly guitars beside the rolling waves; the only thing missing is some sunshine. If they keep producing these radio-friendly numbers, Oceanics will be the flavour of the coming summer.

A notorious live favourite for local punters since the release of their EP Virginity more than 18 months ago, Bleeding Knees Club's Jordan Malane and Alex Wall take no prisoners with their slacker punk rock, pulling out favourites Camp Out, Problem Child and Have Fun early in the set. Malane is all roguish charm, prefacing the surprisingly sweet sentiments of Beach Slut with 'hands up if you're a slut – wow, look at them all'. There's much to love as Malane drags his sister onstage for a sing-along, then apologises to his mum for implying she's a “whore”. Drummer Brett Jansch even uses his greasy mop at one point to bash on his cymbals. Teenage Girls and Nothing To Do round out a solid set with just the odd sound issue marring Wall's bass.

By now the beachfront resembles a standard festival turnout, with many a nightclub-goer stopping by while the night is young and they are sober. Sneaky Sound System DJ Angus McDonald gets the beats cranking as the indomitable voice of the electro outfit Connie Mitchell bursts onstage in fiery red and gold spandex. Hands start pumping and feet start jumping as the familiar sounds of Really Want To See You Again and Just Don't Want To Be Loved pulsate across the shore. Her voice emerging from under the heavy mix, Mitchell lets rip on huge hit Pictures, but momentum slackens during downbeat numbers Goodbye and Remember, and It's Not My Problem suffers from some painfully apparent sound issues, with chunks of sound missing entirely. After a brief costume change, the encore delivers a newbie before closing the night with the crisp beats of UFO.

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