St Kilda Festival 2016 / Photo: Nikki Williams

St Kilda Festival – St Kilda 14/02/16

Australia’s weeklong musical celebration, St Kilda Festival, wrapped up for another year with a huge Festival Sunday. With over 10 stages jam-packed with everything from well-seasoned veterans to the newest up and comers, the sun out, and the festival precinct packed, it was time for punters to feast their ears on some great Aussie tunes.

Funk-meets-Bollywood party starters The Bombay Royale had the crowd up and moving, providing the soundtrack to an assortment of vintage Bollywood film clips. The huge 11-piece, each playing up to their B-movie persona, grooved through their set, The Mysterious Lady providing dance moves for punters to follow, while The Skipper kept that mean brass section rolling.

There was a lot of facial hair on show in front of Main Stage, and rightly so because The Beards were ready to kick things up a gear. In theory it’s hard to take them seriously – four guys with a ton of facial hair who’ve made a career singing about said facial hair. But for all the gimmick and novelty The Beards are tight, rolling through a set that is as rocking as it is melodic.

Bringing girl power all the way from Perth, The Tommyhawks are a little bit folk, and a little bit indie, with a whole lot of spunk. Full of attitude and groovy as heck, if they are a secret, that’ll be changing soon.

One man music machine Owen Rabbit was up next, his smooth, slick beats and lush, floating vocals a stark contrast from the act before. Punters sat fascinated watching as Rabbit constructed each song with the assortment of instruments in his kit, with clicks and claps and his own voice. At one point even a spray can, a toy gun, and a can of beer becoming musical layers.

It may have taken Neighbourhood Youth two years to release another single, but since dropping Feel Our Cold mid last year they haven’t slowed down. That single was a definite highlight in their tightly played set. With dreamy guitars, John Phillip’s attention demanding baritone vocals and their summery chilled out brand of indie rock, Neighbourhood Youth won’t be tucked away on small, fenced off stages for much longer.

Hosting a field full of punters relaxing in the breeze is Fraser A. Gorman, his cruisey, almost spoken rock and softly-spoken demeanour as comforting as he is charming. Punters may have recalled visions of a young Bob Dylan – the curly hair, harmonica and guitar in tow – and while there’s that Americana twang and bluesy-folk style, it is the layers of more diverse styles like surf rock and Gorman’s knack for true storytelling that is keeping everyone hooked.

With punters lining up down the street just to see them, you know The Pretty Littles were going to put on a rocking show. “Thanks for not watching The Grates or The Harpoons… they’re has beens” was their introduction, and from there things reached 100 fast. Loud, raucous and rowdy is the only way to sum up this set.

Combining their classic Australiana pub rock sound with rock n roll spunk and a ripper of a good time, Bad//Dreems made sure they left nothing in the tank. It may have been a long, hot day but the crowd weren’t showing it, their energy never faltering. Not sparing too much time for pleasantries, Bad//Dreems flew through a jam-packed set, with so many highs it’s hard to pick a standout, but the 1-2 punch of singles Cuffed & Collared and Dumb Ideas was huge.

Sunburnt, dirty and pretty darn tired it was time to bid another fantastic St Kilda Festival farewell. What a fantastic way to celebrate our incredible music scene.

St Kilda Festival 2016 – City of Port Phillip, Victoria 14/02/16 – Photos: Nikki Williams

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