Live Review: Waratah Laneway Street Vibes Party

11 March 2016 | 3:24 pm | Rhys Anderson

"Lazer Baby perform a set worth the ticket price alone."

The Street Vibes festival is one of Hobart's best kept secrets, and this year boasted one of the best line-ups of hand-selected local electronic and instrumental dance acts, with Melbourne's Alice Ivy representing the 'mainland'. Street Vibes highlights part of a growing trend — live instrumentation is back. The DJ that stands behind the booth choosing not to engage with crowd is booking fewer gigs, and that's a good thing.

Junior Brando, a young producer and DJ, alternates one hand on the guitar and one on the fader as guest stars such as rappers Promise and Max Bladel deliver a run of consecutively great bars over an alt-electro backer. Bladel's first track could have been a disaster as the drum pad and programmed synths fail to load but instead, covering with cool charisma, Brando and Bladel improvise a solid genre-defining beatbox/guitar battle.

S L O W have a name that's hard to write and music that's hard not to like. The set opens with Shook, a hard-hitting radio-friendly dance track. The duo ( producer KOWL as DJ and acoustic singer-songwriter Calypso Brown as singer) blend insightful lyricism and optimistic electronica with their own signature sound, borne through vintage gear and heavy-reverb tambourine.

Melbourne's Alice Ivy aka Annika Schmarsel everything it can to not just be DJs behind a desk. Schmarsel trades a sunburst telecaster between her and her guitarist Luy Amiel (The Hunted Crows) as they take turns to play blistering lead lines over sample-heavy tunes (think if Tom Morello featured on a track by The Avalanches) as they dance and drum pad the crowd into a frenzied stupor.

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Lazer Baby perform a set worth the ticket price alone. Their gospel-rock singing and offbeat funk/soul back line — further benefited by a guest performance from saxophone player Squish — bringing everyone at the laneway inside to cram against the stage. Following act Bad Beef showed what a brass-loaded ska/dance band can do, beautifully layering a complex and dynamic songwriting style over live keys lead beats.

The street party closed with a swing-house sax set by Squish as people danced out into the night, keen to keep the good vibes party atmosphere going all the way into the city.