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Live Review: Hyperfest

20 February 2017 | 1:46 pm | Elliot Cahill

"Things got loose when Gardner jumped off stage to create a 'hugging pit' — his answer to a death pit."

Electric punk five-piece Alex The Kid kicked off at the Hyper Stage. Each member was clearly feeling the heat of the early afternoon sun. Red-faced, vocalist James Matthews pushed through with courage, the crowd battling along with him.

Jacob Diamond ignited considered melodies with his bassist Will Langdale. There was a raspiness to his voice that reverberated off nearby shipping containers right of the stage, which were acting as a sound barrier. He compelled the crowd into a state of bliss.

Daybreak knew how to attract a crowd, a young-faced metal act led by 17-year-old vocalist Shaun Cox facing off a 200-strong crowd. Drummer Sam Warren was going hard with the cymbals and snare while Brodie Wilson could be heard telling spells, filling the crowd with gain-filled riffs.

Up next were newcomers to the Perth scene, six-piece indie rockers Raksha. Amber Scates projected sweet bliss to eager ears, the band holding a tight, dynamic sound, each instrument complementing the other. Ethan Walters delivered flares of progressive tones backed by roars of guitar.

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Rag N' Bone waited on Raksha’s last song before singer Kiera Owen graced the stage, bringing a twist of enthusiasm and interacting with the crowd. Drummer Jamie Gallacher brought controlled beats and kicks, riding the flow of the set. However, the band lacked their past flare, sounding a bit jaded. Owen murmured, “Holy shit, it’s hot,” before finishing the set. We all agreed. 

Jack Lowes set many exhausted punters alight in a wild, lucid trance, kicking the energy up a gear with breaks and tight mixes. He stood out amongst other DJs in the silent disco tent. Bouncing beats cured many a heat-induced migraine, while air-con in the tent filled faces with a much-needed mist. He continued to meld into fusions of D'n'B and breaks. Rhythms slapped you across the face with every breakdown while lighting many smiles in the tent.

Amy Shark, triple j Hottest 100 second place winner, kept the crowd compelled. She asked the men of the crowd to not spit on girls and composed narratives with complex lyrics that painted stories for the whole audience to enjoy. Hearts built for one another as she ended her set with Adore, the pack falling in love with every word she uttered.

Totally Unicorn dashed in with rainbows of colour flying. Singer Drew Gardner strutted out in rainbow undies, sporting a party streamer jacket. “Let's do some crazy fucking shit," he yelled out to the stunned crowd. Metal with a bright colourful twist, things got loose when Gardner jumped off stage to create a “hugging pit” — his answer to a death pit. He then creatively turned his mic cord into a skipping rope for thrilled fans. His next action, bolting through the festival, playing tag with a 50-strong group of fans chasing after him. They certainly made their mark!

Nicole Millar brought out bass-driven drum and synth beats and hip hop rhythms. The crowd bounced to each tap of a drum stick. A malfunctioning laptop turned her set acoustic quickly, and she sung High with a unique flair. Millar was lost for words, feeling the love from a supportive crowd who stuck by after a plague of issues. “Thank you Perth, this has been a blessing in disguise,” she said. Fortunately, the backing tracks resumed in time for her hit single Tremble. While definitely out of her comfort zone, her acoustic effort connected the crowd through vocal vulnerabilities.

Asta’s session drummer delved into drum-padded paradise, beginning the set with bobby tunes. She was noticeably out of tune to begin, improving later into the set. Hockey Dad kicked it up with beach blues and a backyard house party vibe. Both Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming — guitarist and drummer — generated big sounds for a two-piece act. They finished their set by crowd-surfing together among a sea of joyful fans.

Allday, aka Tom Gaynor, delivered R&B infused trap beats with a low frequency grind. A composed modern rap artist, he jumped about on stage with the crowd following each and every word. He made his attempts to bring modern rap out of the underground scene to the mainstream clear to the crowd, who screamed in support.

Hands Like Houses brought melodic metal to the Hyper Stage, sharing similarities to Dead Letter Circus, sucking any remaining energy from the heat-stricken crowd. The finished off the night with a blast of guitar, drum kicks and words of advice: “If you guys are musicians, or if you aren’t, pick up a guitar, pick up a pair of drumsticks and hit shit with them, because it’s such a verbal way to connect with the people around us and ourselves and to open up our minds.”

For some, the heat of the day was spent in the safety of shopping mall air conditioners or homely chill. For others, it was an opportunity to bathe on one of Perth's many beaches. For the devoted, this was the place to be. An incredible mixture of genres to honour the sounds and diversity of today’s music scene.