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Live Review: Wine Machine

3 December 2018 | 5:49 pm | Gavin de Almeida

"It was a great effort to not only salvage but really turn around a show that could have easily been cancelled."

There were a few poignant, yet sombre, revelations about the half washed-out Wine Machine show in the normally picturesque McLaren Vale wine region. The first was that with a positive outlook and an upbeat mentality, you can always make the best of a bad situation. Ultimately, there is a critical mass of South Australian millennials who really aren't particularly fussed about the nature of entertainment, so long as there is an excuse to congregate en masse and party. While the quality of the line-up was gutted by rain delays - with Jack River, San Cisco, Kira Puru and Confidence Man unable to take the stage - it mattered very little. Punters were basically just happy the storm had passed and that there was any entertainment at all on the stages.

After the unfortunate rain delay, a very upbeat Lex Deluxe got the party underway with some familiar but pumping tracks. Unfortunately a technical glitch early threw her set off and it took a while to regain the momentum. The crowd engagement was varied with the lesser-known DJ really mainly entertaining people at the front. At least the weather was suddenly beautiful again.

It was very hard to know what to make of Kinder. With huge stage energy and blonde dreadlocks flying, the duo spent a lot of time revving up the crowd and some time behind the decks. There wasn't necessarily a lot to the mixes and it really felt like it was more about the stage energy and less about the tunes. However, it was a pretty strange day up to that point, which probably affected people's attention spans. Fisher's set varied from boring and repetitive near the start to really nuanced, ambient and varied. The second half was far more enjoyable as the more complex tracks wove their way into the mix and there were more textures for listeners to wrap their ears around. 

Despite the terrible weather, the production and sound for the main event, Hot Dub Time Machine, was very professional and highly entertaining. The use of a horn section to introduce Tom Loud and highlight different parts of the set was a welcome touch and added to the sense of occasion. The fantastic visual mash-ups, flames and fireworks brought out the epic nature of the multisensory experience and, above all, the choice of music was just spot-on, with a range of unexpected songs scattered among the super popular hits.

All in all, it was a great effort to not only salvage but really turn around a show that could have easily been cancelled. Of course, it would have been great to hear Jack River and San Cisco on such a big stage and watch the live theatrics of cult act, Confidence Man, but the horrendous weather not only delayed proceedings but damaged equipment. Under the circumstances, the organisers really pulled it together in the end and hopefully next time there won't be such freakish weather to put a dampener on proceedings.