Live Review: ILUKA, Sun Sap, Stockley

8 April 2017 | 10:44 am | Ben Nicol

"ILUKA won over her audience again and again."

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The small intimacy of Wollongong’s Rad Bar pushed punters up close to the performers to the point where the line between band and crowd was essentially blurred.

Opening act Stockley had no problem navigating this set-up, casually conversing with the attendees closest to them in-between performing delightful folk-rock tracks with beautiful group-vocal harmonies. The Sydney gents were a class act from start to finish.

Raucous six-piece Sun Sap then proceeded to spark the biggest dances of the night, thanks to their bouncy energy and lively frontman. Their casual demeanour, epitomised by lead singer Adam McTaggart's skilled ability to kick-start a boogie, is contrasted by the meticulous efforts of the band to stay perfectly synchronised. The surf-and-soul rockers kept the energy escalating until climaxing with strobe lights and ferocious guitar riffs, leaving us sweaty and ready for the headline act.

Presenting gloriously soulful tracks reminiscent of the 1960s, with the bohemian aesthetic to match, ILUKA (real name Nikki Thorburn) wasted little time in her set, with each track almost immediately folding into the next. Her raw talent on the mic was put on full display and never tired.

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The indie singer-songwriter absolutely nailed her most recently released tracks. Armed with crunchy guitar licks and accompanied by a three-piece band, ILUKA blissfully nailed Blue Jean Baby early on in her set, and kept the momentum going from there. Her band helped keep things up-tempo and added a touch of retro-pop to the set, only taking time to slow things down for Blue My Soul, the title track from her new EP.

The young talent pulled in an even younger crowd, which lent itself well to the euphoric and playful energy of her set. ILUKA won over her audience again and again through her captivating and smoky vocals, her dexterity on the guitar and her ceaselessly humble nature. It was a set that fluidly portrayed the musical range of a young talent whose musicianship shows that she is, above everything else, promising.