Live Review: RTRFM's In The Pines

27 April 2012 | 10:50 am | Cam Findlay

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Trees, blankets, horn-rimmed glasses, an abundance of a certain South Australian beer and Peter Barr's notable MC-ing; what would a year be without the salubrious In The Pines festival? This year, as the cold weather lead to the donning of many a woolly jumper, the masses made their way down to the Somerville Auditorium to feast their eyes on some of the best music our state has to offer. Firing up the ol' double stage were Tusk and The Love Junkies respectively, a psychedelic beat-down not at all tempered by the Junkies' knockout garage rock.

The Big Old Bears stepped up next, swaggering with their charming blues-folk/country sound. And now, for something completely different: Frozen Ocean entered stage left, replete with lady's Sunday dresses and dirt (I hoped it was dirt) smeared across their faces. What followed was an experiment in noise jamming, complete with an early contender for best quote of the day: “I want to get inside you/But it's against house rules.” Suffer provided no doubts as to their style; coming on in all black, tattoos and beards worn proudly. They played through a stop-start cavalcade of thrashcore. As expected, it didn't sound the best in an open-air auditorium, but they do have the ability to cater for die-hard metalheads. Runner then provided an interesting mix of ambience, post-rock and more poppy tunes. These guys have made a name for themselves around town from their delicate interplay. Some singing lessons wouldn't go astray, however.

Boy, what more could you expect from Hang On St. Christopher? Over the last two years or so, Sean O'Neill has developed into one of the most gripping musicians in Perth, and his band are just as talented. Building many a looping rhythm, O'Neill created atmospheric swirls as his band built up around him. The Benedict Moleta Band dropped down the adrenaline with their cruisy folk and talented musicanship. Not overly exciting, but readily charming just the same. Drowning Horse, despite their aim to become the most ear-shattering noise producer since Krakatoa, suffered the same problems as Suffer, their sound coming through a bit tinny and distorted. Still cool to see them in such an eclectic setting, though. Smrts, as always, entertained. Their unique mix of Eastern European folk music and ballsy '60s surf rock is something not to be missed. The Leap Year proved they were an interesting enough rock band, with some cool aural elements thrown in, but once again could do with a little vocal training.

Apricot Rail provided, sadly, what was far from their best performance. Sound leveling issues, as well as technical issues with Mayuka's instruments, really hampered the usually emotive feel of the band. The Sunshine Brothers brought the funk back with their spaced-out, reggae-as-fuck ska sound, replete with matey wholeheartedness. Boys Boys Boys! then supplied the sound that has made them so well-known over Perth, staging a running man contest as a little gimmick (a young girl won, dance fans). San Cisco took the opportunity to play some new material, which sees some exciting development for the young band. The Ghost Hotel kept the energy right up, their brooding-yet-energetic rock stylings bringing in the cold night perfectly.

The Kill Devil Hills, fresh from their Dirty Three support, fit perfectly in the scenery, deeply-moving swamp-rock enrapturing the punters who had stuck around this long. Split Seconds brought the energy down (slightly) with their always-on-point folk rock, before Sugar Army absolutely nailed it, sending rolling waves of sound careening through the trees. And with that, another In The Pines over, another hangover to nurse and another year to wait.