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Live Review: Scouted

29 July 2019 | 2:37 pm | Daniel Cribb

"If you're struggling to find quality music in Adelaide, you're not trying very hard."

There's a touch of irony in Music SA naming their annual artist showcase Scouted, given the fact you don't have to look far to find talent in Adelaide.

An army of industry figures made their way across town from music conference Indie-Con to catch TOWNS kick off proceedings at stage (aka upstairs at The Stag). The duo's quirky and fun sound bounced between indie-pop and gritty rock, building off early 2000s vibes while carving a new path.

"This is packed. It's weird," frontman Aston Valladares acknowledged, hell-bent on making every song count.

Meanwhile, a Local Revolution was taking place up the street at Crown & Anchor, with Chilean-born vocalist Lenin Marrón offering up pitch-perfect, dreamy melodies backed by an army of musicians, including an organ, horn section and more, eliciting some serious audience swaying with an onslaught of funky brilliance in Funk The World Up. The nine-piece would soar on a festival stage.

Tucked away on Rundle Street and up numerous flights of stairs, the sweet style ("We wear sunglasses in nightclubs”) of jazzy trio ER@SER DESCRIPTION took another musical left turn, riding a wave of sync so charming in Erase Quickly (Without Smudging) you felt like you were on the set of an '80s game show.

There was barely enough room to move in the Exeter beer garden, an indication that dreamy indie-rock outfit Dress Code had already won over the locals. Their music and execution proved it won't be long before the rest of the country knows about them, especially with "new music coming soon".

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Back over at The Stag, Stacy Says (yes, that's a reference to The Simpsons) were offering up gritty indie-rock, driven by raw guitar riffs and bouncing bass, accompanied by melodies from drummer Heather Button that instantly connected. These "happy campers from Adelaide" are heading in an exciting direction.

Few acts can fill out a beer garden like the booming sounds of Jess Day and band, whose Exeter set proved she'll be headlining sold out shows around the country in the not too distant future. Day's haunting vocals soared through reverb on songs that sounded like they had been produced by a seasoned musician.

With Crown & Anchor quickly packing out, Venice Queens' swagger-fuelled rock'n'roll set might have claimed the title of the night's most energetic performances. "It's a bit sweaty," frontman Sammy Little said. You've got that right.

Cheering echoed down the stairwell of Sugar with good reason as hip hop duo Homeward Bound mashed classic Aussie hip hop with catchy dance-pop choruses.

The hip hop continued with buzzing hip hop artist Elsy Wameyo back at The Stag, punters flocking in shortly after her set began –  it wasn't long until they were shouting the love during call-and-response moments. Blending R&B, soul and rap, Wameyo and her band were one of the most fun acts of the evening.

Rockers Glowing were doing just that throughout their energetic set, Crown & Anchor well and truly reaching sauna status during their performance, with punters stretching around doors and standing on benches to catch a glimpse of the band creating a whirlwind of organised noise. Vocalist Finn Cameron showcased a wide array of vocal styles from deep, soulful verses to soaring and gritty choruses.

In theory, a beer garden would be a good place to cool off, but the funky, pulsating and infectious sounds of Wanderers were quick to render that next-to-impossible. The band showcased big vocal lines and crisp guitar riffs, and truly hit their stride during more mid-tempo tracks. They're the type of band whose songs feel familiar, even if you have never heard them before.

"I love genres – I couldn't pick one," eclectic hip hop personality OC3EANEYES declared to Sugar, promising to take attendees on a trip. Channelling SoundCloud rap vibes, the rising artist has established a distinct sound for someone with only two songs out, and fan favourite Frozen Coke, with its heavy bass lines, playful synth and vocals, went down a treat.

When the lead guitarist is sporting a white turtleneck and all band members are wearing denim, you know you're in for a good time, and that's exactly what Pinkish Blu delivered with their brand of polished indie-rock, executed with infectious energy and a charming presence from vocalist Brice Young, who had some of the strongest vocals of the night. The Stag was packed and the soundsystem was on overdrive.

The "dole-country-rock" sounds of Ricky Albeck & The Belair Line Band were right at home in the Exeter beer garden, and the frontman's vocals conjured up nostalgic pub-rock vibes, with booming drum lines and rough guitar at odds end to the fiddle.

The juxtaposition between Albeck and co and Stellie at Sugar just a few doors down highlighted the diversity of sounds showcased throughout the night. The chatter across the venue was instantly brought to silence as Stellie opened her set with an a cappella verse, shimmering guitar and catchy beats slowly joining the hypnotic sound. You could feel the hype in the room – Stellie is a must-see a BIGSOUND this September.

Closing such a talent-packed event across four venues is no easy feat, but if anyone was up for the challenge, it's The Montreals, whose easygoing, upbeat rock at The Stag was exactly what was needed. Although not quite in line with the night's theme, a cover of Sum 41's In Too Deep was a nice touch.

If you're struggling to find quality music in Adelaide, you're not trying very hard, as it’s damn near impossible to escape, and Scouted continued to highlight the most promising and exciting acts with its third run.