"This team know how to encourage diverse musical exposure and put on a great festival..."
This year, in its second incarnation, The Plot boasted a mostly Australian line-up packed full of hip hop, dance, and up-and-coming artists. It also gave us a chance to appreciate some old favourites and bliss out on a beautiful summer's afternoon.
The winner of the triple j Unearthed slot is buzz artist of the year, Sampa The Great. Where there's buzz, there's talent, and Sampa is something special. Her soul, her lyrics and her demeanour all point towards a huge year coming up.
The layout of the Parramatta Park venue gave easy access to everything. Food, drinks, facilities and stages were no more than a minute's walk away from each other and this enabled a lot of diversity to be had. There was a small but fun group at B Wise, followed by some entertaining commentary from The Meeting Tree encouraging us to "forget the consequences". Fortunately, this festival, unlike others of recent times, tended to opt for much less dangerous potential consequences.
The small, early crowd at the Narrative stage were treated to a fantastic set from E^ST, who is developing quickly into a confident and consistent songstress. Similarly, Asta is stepping up as more than just an 'Unearthed High' winner with new tunes paving the way for a more diverse catalogue.
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A highlight of the afternoon was up and coming hip hop sensation, L-FRESH The LION. His positivity and energy in front of an 'almost' hometown crowd summed up the vibe of the day. Arms flailing, fists in the air and giant smiles were the order of the set as he performed in front of a full band. Brand new track, Hold Up, was a surprise standout.
Rock fans were satiated with some Guns N' Roses-like stage antics from The Griswolds, before a long awaited set from Urthboy stopped everyone in their tracks. The first ever performance of new tracks Long Loud Hours (with guest appearance from Bertie Blackman) and Nambucca Boy were something special to witness.
Ngaiire was running late so we headed over to catch Tkay Maidza and her gorgeous giggle. Her live show enthralled the growing crowd. The scheduling clash was unfortunate, but we managed to catch the second half of Ngaiire's set and, boy, were we glad we did. Her talent shines on stage as did her amazing song, Once, and some outstanding work from her back-up singers.
As the sun set, Spit Syndicate took to the stage and delivered a couple of new tracks from their upcoming album. They seemed to get the reaction the duo were hoping for, but bigger props were reserved for older tracks like Amazing.
SAFIA attracted a huge crowd — the girl in front declared that she only came for them. Excellent lights, build-up and vibe helped make it one of the day's highlights. New single, Make Them Wheels Roll, was a delicious, down-beat delicacy.
To finish the night, the crowd packed in front of the Atomic stage to witness the electro-dance trio Art Vs Science. If we had forgotten just how good these guys were, we were reminded. They were punchy, exciting and just bloody good fun. Parlez-Vous Francais? is pretty much the perfect festival song. It is still to be determined if their new album can live up to its potential.
The Plot is a day with so much promise and promoters Cattleyard are making every effort to bring up and coming artists to the west. If only Western Sydneysiders would actually show up! Hopefully the disappointing crowd numbers don't deter the organisers from persisting, because this team know how to encourage diverse musical exposure and put on a great festival.