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Live Review: State Of The Art Festival

8 June 2016 | 1:38 pm | Mark Beresford

"Not even a stage invasion from two pillocks could dampen the spirits of 'Two Much Time Together' or 'Snow'."

For the start of the day at least, Perth had turned on a cracking day at Elizabeth Quay. Masses of people swarmed the river edge with food trucks, buskers and a warm atmosphere — you couldn't pick a much better way to celebrate WA day.

The main stage was treated early with Morgan Bain cutting through some stirring vocals for Freedom. Playing with a full band to a completely enraptured crowd, it proved to be an odd choice to slot him in so early in the day. The Merindas followed on quickly, the duo filling the tent with Motown soul under a deadly beat, including a rousing version of The Jackson 5's I Want You Back. Jacob Diamond's quirky folk-pop got an added boost in crowd numbers as folks sprinted for the tent as the rain arrived, drawing an unfortunate end to the solo stage for the day. Thankfully Luke Dux managed to get his set in just prior, dropping in a number of new tracks soaked in outlaw country-soul and storytelling finger plucks — it's no surprise he received a mass of applause.

Our Man In Berlin suffered under the weight of a poor live mix that seemed to degrade their typically tight live shows — still enthusiastic however, the raw guitar licks of Bones were an immediate highlight. Verge Collection have the textbook modern Australian festival sound: upbeat, melodic indie-pop, and it came as no surprise to see how well Class of '09 and Our Place went down with the younger fans itching to dance. Former Unearthed High winners Mosquito Coast continue to impress in their live show;, the chilled indie-rock was sublime to break up to the afternoon with Naomi Robinson giving a killer Stevie Nicks vocal for a cover of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams.

The Barrack Square stage offered up a surprise breakthrough in Hussy. Taking a new wave style and pushing it further in the post-punk direction with bratty lyrics and a stiff lip attitude, they proved they can do more than a side stage. Mathas' live shows have gone to a complete new level with the addition of a full band. Bravo Troll, White Sugar and Free Shit now explode with energy — stack that with an already fierce lyrical flow and he had one of the sets of the day.

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Being one of the first acts of the day to pull a serious crowd into the main stage, The Love Junkies didn't disappoint. Their wild set of fuzzed out guitars and screeching distortion breaks sent the mosh into overdrive as bodies hurled around under the weight of Maybelene's scattered beats. Koi Child's unique jazz-cum-hip hop sound is one that the crowd needed no cues to embrace, Shannon 'Cruz' Patterson masters the crowd with imaginative, intelligent and rapid rhymes weaving perfectly in with the brass backing sound and pushing the capacity main stage well into party mode.

There was a mammoth amount of hype through the crowd for the arrival of Ta-Ku, and it was evident that it was an event for him also. Sampling from his various EPs, the blissed out hip hop sent shivers over the barrier under the scrawling projector screen. Pulling Wafia on stage for Treading Water, Meet In The Middle and their twist on American Girl, this was the welcome and much missed return of Ta-Ku to Perth.

San Cisco were in their absolute element on the jammed main stage and couldn't set a foot wrong, loading their set with the jangling pop hooks of last year's Gracetown record — not even a stage invasion from two pillocks could dampen the spirits of Two Much Time Together or Snow.

Jebediah knew what they were up against and happily poked fun at it —  given that it wasn't that long ago the band hit its 20th year, the age gap for the free event wasn't in their favour. This didn't stop anybody from celebrating what is still a cracking Jebs show. The career-spanning set offered up some new gems alongside a stack of singles including Jerks Of Attention, She's Like A Comet, Animal, Feet Touch The Ground and Leaving Home to scratch the surface. Loaded with gusto and grinning from ear to ear, the four lit the stage with a festival closer that may have had a nostalgia factor, but still delivered on every level.