Live Review: Sundown Sessions

18 March 2016 | 9:50 am | Sean Drill

"The African, Caribbean and Latin tunes were the perfect soundtrack to a lazy afternoon, and nicely foreshadowed the other upcoming acts."

Summer had been officially over for nearly a fortnight, but that didn't mean that the weather had relented. For that reason, a beachside concert was the perfect venue for one of the last Sundown Sessions of the year. Early punters took full advantage of the provided sun lounges, while others laid down picnic blankets and had a lazy dance to the tropical beats of Hugo Mendez. The African, Caribbean and Latin tunes were the perfect soundtrack to a lazy afternoon, and nicely foreshadowed the other upcoming acts. It seemed his set was a little wasted on the few early arrivals, and could have been better suited for later in the evening.

Jones Jnr took to the stage next. The Sydney two-piece of DJ Morgs (of Thundamentals) and Ev Jones  (Hobo Bordeaux) were joined on stage by a third member playing trumpet. Playing a soulful hip hop set that blended falsetto vocals, rhymes, turntablism and trumpet accompaniment, they were the first act most people heard as they arrived, with the beachside venue quickly filling up and the dancefloor taking shape.

With the sun slowly setting over the Indian Ocean, Adelaide's Oisima was the surprise of the evening. Performing a live set of trip hop beats and live finger drumming, this is guy to watch. Glimpses of Bonobo, FlyLo and Daedelus could be heard in this new exciting act; already a remix of Ta-ku and a collab with Mei Saraswati (easily the highlight of the set) prove that this man has some real talent.

Chicago selector Sadar Bahar was the final support act of the evening. Although his selection was spot on, playing a mix of classic 45s and 12"s in a vinyl-only set, the mixing was truly subpar. Tracks trainwrecked into one another mix after mix, but the crowd were forgiving, dancing no matter what to the funk and classic soul tracks he played.

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Finally it was time for St Germain to take to the stage. Standing behind a giant mixing board at the back of the stage, Ludovic Navarre provided the electronic backing, but really he just sat back and let his band shine. They played a selection of instruments including the kora, the double-necked n'goni lute and bottle cap shaker.

The set was taken mostly from his latest release (2015's eponymous St Germain) as well as his multi-million selling, award winning record Tourist. Classic tracks So Flute and Sure Thing were given jam session extended mixes as the band danced in time with huge smiles. The set was the perfect blend of afrobeat, jazz and house that Navarre has been known for. Easily the highlight of the set was the saxophone solo from Rose Rouge, which whipped the crowd into a cheering frenzy.

It almost seemed we would get a set without encores (a rarity these days) however as the time crept towards 10pm, the band waved goodbye, before finally returning to the stage to play another jammed out version of Sure Thing. Feeling spent, the crowd filtered out, smiles over all faces.