With festivals back in action, Wollongong’s beloved Yours and Owls will turn Dalton Park into the only place worth being in the world this weekend. Headlined by Aussie alt-pop megastar Tones and I and featuring DMA’s, PNAU, What So Not, Lime Cordiale, Hayden James, Hockey Dad and more, Yours and Owls’ cross-genre lineup of over 70 acts reads like a discerning Aussie music lover’s wildest dream.
With a lineup this stacked, you might just find yourself a little too spoiled for choice, so to save you from massive FOMO and the depths of your own indecision, we’ve done the work for you and come up with this list of six acts that you simply must see to ensure your Yours and Owls is a total hoot.
The Big Print
Tones And I
Yes, we know, this is definitely cheating, but with dancing back on the agenda, you’d be cheating yourselves if you didn’t check out Tones and I’s headline event. With a reputation for putting on stellar sets, Tones promises a dance party powered by non-stop pop bangers. With megahits ‘Dance Monkey’, ‘Fly Away’, ‘Johnny Run Away’, ‘Bad Child’ and ‘Never Seen The Rain’ to call upon and a captivating persona, Tones is set to have you leaving Yours and Owls in a state of euphoric delight.
There are few things as life-affirming as seeing local grommets turned superstars letting it rip in their hometown. For sorta ‘Gong locals Hockey Dad (they’re from 20 mins down the road in Windang) Yours and Owls is the ultimate chance to do what they do best, turn it up, in front of thousands of their fiercest fans. A frenzied live act, we called these surf rock upstarts one of the best live-acts of 2020 and Yours and Owls is your ultimate chance to see why.
With a whole lot of pent-up energy ready to be expressed, Hockey Dad are set to tear through their grab bag of anthems, delivering riotous renditions of ‘Seaweed’, ‘Join The Club’, ‘Babes’, ‘I Need A Woman’, ‘Sweet Release’, ‘I Wanna Be Everybody’ and more. Having seen this trio own stages from Austin to Melbourne and everywhere in between, we can attest that you must not miss the feel-good set of the autumn. Heck, it’ll be worth it just to sing ‘Germaphobe’ at the top of your lungs with your friends, yes, COVID-19 we hope you feel the subtext, you fuck.
The finer print
Every festival needs a bit of snarky punk energy to get it going and when it comes to delivering snarky punk energy, Melbourne punk rockers Clowns do not fuck around. One of the best punk bands this country has produced in decades, Clowns are an absolute force of nature, when performing live. With a fearless vocalist in Stevie Williams who will think nothing of climbing the stage scaffolding or throwing himself recklessly into the pit, flanked by a band who just oozes charisma (especially bassist Hanny J), Clowns have built a career (and a record label) off of the sheer chaos of their live gigs.
With one of the most consistent catalogues in punk rock, Clowns hit every pit armed with a ton of ragers that’ll have the dust filling your nose in moments. We caught their gig at 170 Russell a couple of months back and the way they tore through ‘Freezing in the Sun’, ‘Destroy the Evidence’, ‘These Veins’, ‘Prick’ and ‘Never Enough’ while cutting all sorts of shapes on-stage and encouraging ‘socially distanced circle pits’ has us confident that no one will leave Yours and Owls unfamiliar with Clowns.
There’s something about pop-punk soundscapes that just suit sunny days at festivals. No day at a fest is complete without one, so with apologies to the equally excellent Slowly Slowly, it’s Sydney’s pop-punk powerhouse Yours Truly that we’ll be getting our fix of pogo-paced anthems, this Yours and Owls festival. One of the rare bands that managed to get bigger than ever in 2020, thanks to the release of their fantastic debut full-length Self Care, Yours Truly are a can’t miss proposition live. Centred around vocalist Mikaila’s pure pipes, Yours Truly have an array of punk, rock and pop jams that’ll have you loving life from the moment they hit the stage. Don’t let the major keys and energy fool you though, these are unashamedly heartfelt songs that delve deep into both the struggles and the celebrations of contemporary existence. To hear the likes of ‘Funeral Home’, ‘Circles’, ‘High Hopes’ and ‘Together’ once, is to have them in your head forever, these songs are damn earworms, and we mean that in the best possible way.
No festival experience is complete without a bit of funk, R&B and soul, those attending Yours and Owls can get all of that and more in one set, thanks to the marvel that is Jerome Farah. The son of a Lebanese father and a Zimbabwean mother, Jerome Farah’s personal journey of navigating culture and identity finds itself organically woven throughout his musical journey, resulting in a soundscape that is hard to define with hooks that are impossible to deny. The owner of one of those soulful voices that cut through the air and reach deep into the very essence of your being with every note, Jerome immerses you in his multi-faced musical world, bringing your stories of his truly unique experience. Having worked with contemporaries Adrian Eagle, Baker Boy and Kian, as well as cut that standout vocal feature on Tash Sultana’s ‘Willow Tree’, Jerome is ready to flex all of his skill, passion and experience turning the likes of ‘I Can’t Breathe’, ‘Mikey Might’ and ‘Vibrate’ into an empowering and immersive live music experience. Check out his standout performance of ‘I Can’t Breathe’ from ABC’s The Sound. Then get your butt to the front at Yours and Owls!
It’s my Yours and Owls festival and I’ll Cry Club if I want to, Cry Club if I want to, you should Cry Club too because it’s the best damn thing that’ll happen to you! Okay, so opportunistic, groan-inducing paraphrasing of Lesley Gore’s hit aside, we absolutely plan on checking out Cry Club’s set at Yours and Owls and you should too, coz they’re rad. As gentle in spirit as they are ferocious on stage, when the Melbourne-based, Wollongong ex-pat noise-pop duo bring their empowering, danceable anthems to Yours and Owls you’ll have no choice but to surrender to their constantly changing sad dance soundscapes.
We’ve seen Cry Club crush it on the sell-out ‘Robert Smith’ tour, in front of their devoted fans and had a total blast, while we’ve also seen them convert a mostly unfamiliar audience in support of alt-rockers WAAX. You don’t manage to do either of those things without a swag bag of TUNES and with ‘Walk Away’, ‘DFTM’, ‘Robert Smith’ and ‘Obvious’ in their possession and a debut album on the way, you can expect Cry Club to emerge as the biggest next big thing to emerge from down under by years end. See them before they get super famous. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Also, consider: Slowly Slowly, DMA’s, Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers, Draftday, Dope Lemon, PNAU, Party Dozen, Adrian Eagle, Greta Stanley…pretty much everyone, aye? Soz, this line-up is that good!
Yours & Owls 2021
Saturday, 17th – Sunday, 18th April
Dalton Park, Wollongong
Tickets: Official Website
Tones And I
What So Not
The Smith Street Band
No Money Enterprise
Teen Jesus and The Jean Teasers
A Place in Prague
Alice and The Bird
Angelo The Poet
Big Twisty and The Funk Nasty
Blackout Fun Club
Champion The Boy
LEFT SIDE FILTER
The Nice Folk
Quite Like Pete
Cove Sound System