Live Review: Unsound Adelaide

18 December 2018 | 3:53 pm | Jenny Nguyen

"Complimentary earplugs were being distributed to the crowd and for good reason."

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The Australian edition of Unsound Festival had a star-studded line-up spread across the city of Adelaide, with the main event taking place at Queen’s Theatre. The return to this iconic venue meant the party was just one street away from Hindley Street. However, the hype surrounding the event would eventually outdo the shenanigans of Adelaide’s most notorious nightlife street.

Opening act Eartheater, the alias of New York’s Alexandra Drewchin, was a banging way to open up the festivities. Friday night also featured the US-born Chilean artist Nicolas Jaar, whose scores have earned him a reputation as one of the “must see” experimental artists of this generation. And a must-see act he was. We placed our trust in Jaar and grooved along to the array of sounds from his devices as the walls of the venue shook. Jaar's set could be described as a holistic “experience” that lasted for 52 minutes.

Bjork collaborators Matmos had the huge task of following up this act, but the duo did not disappoint and brought energy and a glitchy display of lights to complement. The room was packed for Lucas Abela, known for his work with Death Grips, whose hour-plus set was tantalising to say in the least

Yves Tumor was the standout act of Saturday night. His performance made the venue feel “alive” and real as he engaged in a lot of interaction with both the audience and the audio/visual tech. It was a shame that this was cut short by 10 minutes.

Ben Frost was the next act on the bill and the only way to describe this him is INTENSE. Complimentary earplugs were being distributed to the crowd and for good reason; the 50-minute set had every hair on the body standing on its ends and stomachs churning. The shiny foil-like backdrop was supposedly to distract from the onstage intensity, and this would have been a welcomed relief, but Frost had us all trapped in a shiny sound bubble and it was an experience for all senses like no other.