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Review: Swirlfest '18


Review: Swirlfest '18

Tom Johnston

With two stages set to go, the bands bumped in to the steady sound of Sparkke cans cracking open. Having moved to the Ed Castle this year, not only were the stages more intimate, but a smaller space meant more opportunities to run in to your favourite musicians. 

Ricky Albeck kicked off the day to a humble audience. Easy going and calm, Albeck ran us through his morning's routine - in between a mixture of covers and originals, of course. Workhorse continued this measured start, sliding between indie rock and alt-country. With a sedated groove, they reminded me of what made Band of Skulls slower tracks so special. 

Some punters I'm sure were eagerly waiting for a boogie - and Neon Tetra delivered just that. Blending psych and disco, the Prophecy synth paired with Josh Allen's sultry falsetto brought soul to Swirlfest. 

The indoor stage was now open and Blush Response's wall-of-sound filled the room. Having shared a bunch of new songs, I can only beg to know when the album will finally drop, especially after hearing "Who was that band?" more than once. If there was to be a Biggest Pedal Board Award, it would certainly go to them.

Following on outside, Druid Fluids reminded us why it's important to stay hydrated after an intense half-hour of head-bopping groove. With sound engineer Matt Hills approval just minutes into their set - they're a Swirl Records act to keep an eye on. 

Although hard to hear through the chaotic noise, Goon Wizarrd both thanked the audience, and humorously blamed them for their break-up. While we may never know the truth about Goon Wizarrd, two things remain true. They're definitely better than they think they are and all it takes is one "Fuck Peter Dutton" to get the crowd responding in a chant. RIP Goon Wizarrd

Our glum faces quickly turned to smiles as we rushed outside for Zen Panda's set. This was when it was obvious that Swirlfest was a truly special night. With a long intro and even longer breakdowns throughout their set, their energy was focussed purely on the music. 

Sweater Curse kicked on inside after an appearance at the now renowned "Cranker Wednesday's". Having been truly welcomed into Adelaide's heart, they proved that three piece's will stand the test of time, against both the 2-piece and 7-piece revolutions of late. 

The most talked about act of the night? Body Type. Ethereal and captivating - with three vocal parts woven together and a healthy amount of reverb, they sounded amazing. While there's been a certain other all-female act garnering a lot of press lately, I think some of that attention needs to be directed at Body Type. 

The biggest disappointment of the night can definitely be boiled down to Body Type clashing with It's A Hoax, two bands that compliment each other so nicely. Although pushing a more angular edge, vocalist Kiah Lanagan contains the noise-laden guitar and mathy drums with flowing melodies and what I call lyricinicism.  

Siamese continued the indoor stage with one of their finest sets yet. With West Theb's Nick Horvath on bass duties, every pedal change marked a darker delve into 90's grunge. Strobes chopping through the smoke, it was time for their cover of Metallica's Enter Sandman. Paying homage to predecessors and friends, they all humbly did this in white Sweater Curse T-Shirts. 

This brought us to the end of the night, with the smoke machine being let loose and the lights beaming like never before. Adelaide's regular shoe-gazing visitors Flyying Colours took us past midnight with a spectral set of dream pop goodness - it made sense that Blush Response's Alister Douglas cited them as his favourite Australian band. Entrenched in feedback, the delays rode long into the night. 

After a few drinks and many a conversation with friends across scenes, I eagerly await Swirlfest '19. Tired and broken, I knew we could all sleep happy knowing the Adelaide scene is doing just fine.

Take a look at our full gallery of the day HERE