Live Review: Spin Off Festival At Thebarton Theatre, Fri Aug 2

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See all the photos from the day here and here

While there was no Lana Del Rey this year to hypnotise fans and draw in the curious, Spin Off once again offered some cherished memories for those who went to rival the splendour that was on offer at Splendour.

Downsizing to the more approrpiately-sized Thebarton Theatre shouldn’t be viewed as a negative, as instead the trusty ol’ Thebby was able to deliver more on atmosphere. The crowd let themselves down by being unprepared for a winter festival — combatting the cold with singlets, butt-shorts and flower crowns — when really what was on offer was a showcase of excellent bands.

Local bands Console Warriors and Archers were quick off the blocks to open the festival as the winners of the Spin Off Local Band competition. Dune Rats, those unstoppable stoner pop kids from Brisbane, charged on stage, steaming through their radio friendly hits Red Light Green Light and Stoner Pop. They are the kind of band you wish you could be in, but know that your parents would kill you, if liver poisoning doesn’t first.

Another Brisbane band, The Jungle Giants, were up next, allowing the punk kids a bit of a break while the indie popsters took to the barrier, heads bobbing along to Mr Polite and She’s A Riot. While still fresh to the music scene, there is much promise in this four-piece — be sure to see their name further up the line up in no time.

The hype surrounding FIDLAR was justified; they blitzed their polished set and charmed the crowd with their coy sense of humour, introducing themselves as every other band on the line-up except themselves. A surprise guest appearance from Dune Rats, who launched themselves into a roaring crowd left one punter with
a broken nose and helluva story. Having surf rock bands on the line-up enables the crowd to loosen up, winning over the crowd for certain when they played their version of Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand, which they played that morning for Triple J’s Like A Version, leaving even the most pretentious indie kid with their flower crown askew.

Things calmed down for Snakadaktal, who celebrated the release of their debut album Sleep In The Water that day. They stretched out their grasp on the crowd and taking them for a ride with their ambient new material, quickening pace for dancier tracks Hung On Tight and Dance Bear. Alas, it proved too slow for some. While not the most lively band on the line-up, they are one of the most promising, setting themselves apart as a poised and polished offering in Australian pop music.

Chet Faker, while tardy, builds atmosphere through the power of his voice, piano and beard. Seated at the piano for the duration of the set, Faker shows his professionalism and confidence in his excellent material from Thinking In Textures, although a more diverse (and longer) set peppered with new material is what the crowd yearned for.

Few surprises were offered for Passion Pit, although frontman Michael Angelakos was in finer form than his last appearance in Adelaide for Parklife 2012, with the Gossamer-heavy set gelling with a more informed crowd this time around. Manners favourites Sleepyhead and Little Secrets still
made an impact, although Take A Walk, I’ll Be Alright and Constant Conversations had the crowd stomping along.

Even the harshest critics would concede that Icelandic seven-piece Of Monsters And Men delivered, charming the crowd with a refined and elegant set. Relying purely from My Head Is An Animal except for one track, Violent Storm, there were only a few times where it was obvious they were going through the motions. Never before has a song that’s predominant lyric is ‘la la la’ been as engrossing as their rendition of Yellow Light, but perhaps it was just the mesmerising confetti. While not the most explosive band in the world, there’s a reason why they’re still so popular and everyone at Spin Off saw the evidence.

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