Posted by Danni Le Toullec on October 24, 2011
The inaugural música /TUMBALONG festival took a line-up gamble which paid off in Sydney last weekend, with a fresh crop of international and local electronic and indie acts.
With the one stage, limited capacity and most people keeping their clothes on, this boutique festival was a welcome change from what has become a stock standard festival package. A day spent running from stage to stage, crying over timetable clashes and losing your friends left, right and centre.
Bon Chat, Bon Rat, a Sydney-based trio, played tracks from their self-produced (and mixed) debut EP to a crowd that lazed on the grass in the hot afternoon sun. The trio’s hypnotic electronica complimented the atmosphere of the festival, with the lofty melody of tracks like ‘Blackbird’ carrying through the air.
Emerging artists Mitzi, a four piece hailing from Brisbane, Australia, brought their disco inspired beats and addictive grooves to the stage with stand-out tracks, “All I Heard” and “India”.
As the sun bore down on the recently refurbished Darling Quarter, the fearless lay about, enjoying the rays, whilst the others clung to any shade they could find. Some even erected a make-shift tarp to recline under.
Recently signed to the Future Classic stables, Sydney band New Navy were impossible not to dance to. ‘Zimbabwe’ is a definite must for any summer playlist. As the song reached its peak, each of the four members abandoned their instruments to play the drums for an epic minute-long collaboration.
As seagulls randomly swooped through the air, Electric Wire Hustle represented the New Zealand syndicate of the música /TUMBALONG festival line up. The trio’s slick sounds and soulful vocals got people up and dancing. With a slightly bizarre “big shout out to technology, without which we couldn’t do anything around here”, EWH treated the crowd to some new tunes before retreating from the glaring sunlight.
The crowd started to pick up as the mysterious Tiger and Woods took the stage for their first ever Australian appearance.
With their trademark black baseball caps pulled down low and their moustaches gleaming, Larry Tiger and David Woods played through their 60 min set without much crowd interaction. Unsurprising, for a duo that rarely show their faces and refuse to disclose their country of origin further than “Southern Europe”. Nonetheless their dance music was well received, in particular their closing track ‘Gin Nation’.
Throughout the day, Ghostpoet was seen walking around the festival, refreshingly lax about contact with fans, doling out hugs and high fives. Having never performed in Sydney before, the silky voiced London native did not disappoint.
With support from backing drums and guitar, he rapped his raw heartfelt anthems dripping with playful lyrics from his debut EP Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam. The album that secured him a nomination for the 2011 Mercury Prize alongside big hitters like Elbow and eventual winner PJ Harvey.
One of the only acts of the day to interact with the crowd, he set up some healthy competition between the Sydney and Melbourne crowds with a smile. When someone shouted for him to take off his hat, he took it in his stride with a laugh and a slow drawl, “Can’t take my hat off, it keeps my brain in.”
With lyrics like “I love you like chicken soup, biscuits and lemonade” on ‘Us Against Whatever’, how can you not adore him?
Lunice hit the stage with boundless energy, opening with his acapella swag symphony. The pint-sized Canadian is well known for his dance moves and deconstructed cooking dances. The latter of which confused many and excited few. His choppy mix ups featured beats from Drake, Jay-Z & Kanye West’s album, plenty of bass and fragments of electronica.
Sticking to the timetable down to the very minute, Lunice was cut off to make way for the masked musical genius, SBTRKT.
Rising out of the London electronic music scene, this DJ/Producer is one of 2011’s most talked about artists. Clean beats, flawless production and killer hooks provide him with an edge that many electronic acts lack. He started his DJ set with his remix of Radiohead’s “Lotus Flower” before rolling into “Hold On” off his self-titled debut album.
“Living Like You Do” slipped into a seductively dirty Brazilian jungle beat, perfectly complimented by the scrolling animations from Morph Visual. With his now infamous tribal mask eerily looking out onto the crowd, the Drake remix of “Wildfire” poured out of the speakers, with everyone singing along.
Judging by the feedback on the night and on social media channels in the days after the event, the first música /TUMBALONG festival is an event that Sydney’s subculture has been screaming out for. We can’t wait for música /TUMBALONG numero dos.