Live Review: Party In The Park

21 March 2016 | 3:49 pm | Luke Saunders

"Marijuana followed, with plenty of festival-goers getting a certain kick out of yelling "marijuana" at the top of their lungs."

Sun poured down on Rat Park yesterday making the smiles brighter and the grass greener. There were plenty of paisley T-shirts and floral head adornments floating around, which is now customary at any Australian festival.

Ocean Alley kicked things off by dropping straight into the psychedelic reggae groove they are so well known for. Hits like Yellow Mellow and Freedom Lover didn't have any trouble getting people up on their feet and moving about. Ocean Alley have set themselves apart from the rest of the herd by cooking up their own funky fusion of reggae and rock. The talented soloing of guitarist Nic Blom really shines through, capturing that swirly psychedelic feel, and Baden Donegal's vocals always go down a treat.

With the sun still high in the sky Lime Cordiale hit the stage pouring their sound out over the upbeat crowd and grassy paddock. The eight-piece ensemble boast two keyboards, a trombone and a sax, which ultimately cultivate funky alt-rock beats you just cant help but dance to. Bullshit Aside is a great and nimble tune, which shows off the band's ability to get everything out of their instruments and throw it out there for the crowd to dance to. A highlight came with a prolonged psychedelic drum intro, bathed in blue wash lights, which slowly climbed its way up to meet the reverb-heavy lyrics of Hanging Upside Down. The crowd cheered with their hands in the air as Sleeping At Your Door closed the set.

Next up were our favourite hyperactive stoners, Dune Rats, and they wasted no time launching straight into Superman, driven predominantly by the all-out garage riffs and a high pace energy that make their live sets so good. With Danny Beausa screaming into the mic, BC Michaels beating the piss out of the drums and Brett Jansch giving his bass axe an absolute thrashing it's no wonder almost everyone at Rat Park was up and dancing. Toning it down a tad, but not too much, Beausa launched into a cover of the Violent Femmes' Blister In The Sun. With catchy lyrics almost everyone was singing along to, it should hopefully earn itself a permanent spot in their live sets.

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"Happy 420 everyone," Beausa yelled out as the familiar stench of weed wafted out of the crowd to meet him. Veritable crowd anthems Green Light Red Light and Dalai Lama, Big Banana, Marijuana followed, with plenty of festival-goers getting a certain kick out of yelling "marijuana" at the top of their lungs.

Just when you'd think they were running out of energy, out come the 3-foot high ninja kicks and jumping off the drum kit, to the fast surf-rock riffs of Funny Guy leaving the crowd puffing and panting but undeniably wanting more.

As the sun cascaded towards the horizon and the drinks kept flowing, Ball Park Music took to the stage to show us what they had to offer. The answer was quite a bit, from the mellow, laidback styling's of Coming Down to the upbeat yet subtly sorrowful She Only Loves Me When I'm There, Ball Park Music captured the audience as they ushered the sun into setting. Their big time, geek-pop melodies are things you can't help but be happy to, let alone bounce, bop and beam around. A few songs and many more strobe lights later It's Nice To Be Alive hit the core fans that were screaming for more, an ode to a band that has definitely carved out their own sound in today's ocean of noise. With Jennifer Boyce rocking her red bass and Sam Cromack's clean and poppy vocals the band closed their set with a bow and a simple goodnight.

As the stars came out and the moon sat high in the sky, Touch Sensitive, aka Michael Di Francesco, came out armed with only beat pads and his bass guitar, prepared to give us a taste of the deep house tunes he had to offer. Kicking off the set with Duke Dumont cover I Got U essentially put a trampoline under the crowd's feet as hundreds of happy listeners left the ground. Sporting a metallic silver jacket, Di Francesco was somehow reminiscent of Freddie Mercury and his flamboyant stage presence. Calling out a guitarist to add to the atmosphere Francesco launched into a cover of Snakadaktal's Fall Underneath, which was a huge crowd pleaser. The guitarist stayed on throughout to set, occasionally launching into biting blues solos, which with deep house seemed a fairly unorthodox combo, but they fit like peas in a pod. As the bass rolled on so did the covers; Hermitude's The Buzz got people dancing with its melodic xylophone hook. After a huge hour of deep house classics, Francesco ended it with a crowd favourite, Real Talk, leaving smoke rolling out over the crowd under his chocolate bass riffs.