Hoo boy (pun not intended), I did not know what to expect coming into The Phoenix as Ghost Boy started setting up for their set. Whenever I see a young, new band playing well-written, musically-interesting tunes on The Phoenix stage, it makes my heart swell. Ghost Boy’s mellow, singer/songwriter-driven indie tunes filled a room already packed (seemingly to capacity). This band’s sound showcased hints of jazz in the feel of the drumming combined with the guitar chord voicings while maintaining its indie core. I particularly enjoyed the slow-burning nature of some of the songs, especially the almost post-rock-esque closer.
Remember what I said earlier about how seeing great new bands pop up on the Phoenix stage? Yeah, get ready for more of the same. I’ve seen Byron busking on the corner of the bus interchange for years and I’ve always wondered why he never played in a band. The man is brilliant! And now his new band Sputnik Sweetheart have had a hell of a debut gig. Catchy, upbeat indie rock in the vein of Bloc Party with the added dynamic interplay between Byron and Nette’s vocals. The crowd was clearly having a great time and I’m hoping to see these sort of reactions to this band in the future. They also surprise released a single on Unearthed pretty recently so get around that if you want to get a glimpse of these party-starters.
In between sets, Kirklandd’s DJ took to the stage first to set up and warm up the crowd with some bangers which I was definitely vibing hard (get this man for your next party). The duo clearly have their live set down pat which was proven by the seamless transition between the DJ warm up set and the start of Kirkland’s. Now, anyone who knows me will know I’m not a huge hip-hop fan but I can get around a solid live set especially in a mixed bill. Kirklandd’s tracks hit the usual notes of Aussie hip-hop as fans of acts like Hilltop Hoods and 360 would be familiar with (look, I don’t actually know loads about rap). The man has some pretty crisp flow and, more than anything, a knowledge of how to control a room. The crowd was glued and those who came specifically to see him were going off and putting a shift in on the d-floor.
HYG have come such a long way since their entry into the scene. I remember booking frontman Mark Wilson’s first show under this project which he just played solo with a loop pedal. With Lucius and Oskar, this trio has become a tight, well-oiled psych rock machine. Once again, a genre I’m not hugely familiar with which made me try to pay even closer attention to what each member was doing musically in order to write this review. It’s quite easy to get lost in the songs with the grooves from the bass and drums combining with Wilson’s swirling tones and riffs. The crowd that stuck around for their set were entranced and it was great to see their new single “Colour Box”, full of catchy riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a much bigger stage, get such a great celebration.