New Zealand lads SIX60 drew in a crowd at the Fremantle Arts Centre
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTINE CHEN
Last Saturday I went to see my first ever live concert. It was a band that I had never heard of before, at a venue that I had never actually been into. Suffice to say, it was a completely new experience and I had no idea what I was expecting.
My verdict? It was amazing.
I arrived at the Fremantle Arts Centre at around 5:30pm, half an hour early, to see a band from New Zealand called SIX60. The late afternoon sun was blazing, but that didn’t deter a substantial crowd of at least one hundred people from waiting outside already.
At 6pm, the gates were finally opened to the public and everyone made their way inside to the grassy lawn area in front of the stage. Within no time, the crowd of hundreds turned into thousands and by 6:30pm the throng filled the entire venue! There were young people and old people alike, males and females, Kiwis and Australians, all gathered side by side to see their favourite band. Every time a person would come onto the main stage and adjust an instrument, change the lighting, inspect the wiring, cheers would come from the crowd in anticipation for SIX60. You can imagine what this was like as a person who’s never even heard of this band before, let alone first-time concert goer! But this only grew my fascination and my own anticipation for the band to come and perform.
First up however, was fervent support act POW! Negro. Local rising star Nelson Mondlane delivered a powerful opening song and the energy he exuded was palpable and continued for the entire set. Song after song as the sun went down, he and his band gave it their all and impressed the entire crowd with their talent and passion for their art. It was clear to see why SIX60 had chosen this band as their opener.
But the crowd’s love for POW! Negro was still incomparable to the amount of wild love and enthusiasm shown when SIX60 eventually did come out onto the stage: Arms were up, New Zealand flags and signs were out, and the five men were met with deafening cheers from the audience of 3000. As if in response, the band launched straight into their opening track, “Special”, an all-round crowd pleaser. I was even close enough to see lead singer Matiu Walters’ amazement and satisfaction as the whole crowd sang word by word with them. The atmosphere around me was electrifying and was something I had never experienced before.
The band continued to feed off the crowd’s energy the entire night, Ji Fraser and Chris Mac on guitar and bass launched into a powerful duet together, in classic rock-star fashion. And several songs in, Walters climbed half way up the stage’s giant lighting rig to sing through a loudspeaker (as if to fire up the crowd even more)!
It was all over at about 9:45pm (much to the relief of my poor ears), 15 minutes before schedule. Despite this abrupt end, I still was absolutely amazed. A Kiwi act managed to draw in thousands of people and engage them in a way I had never seen done before. Not only that, the stage setup (drum kits and synth on risers), dazzling lighting rig and the show’s overall scale of production was outstanding.
The lads from New Zealand really did put on a show for everyone, bringing people from all different backgrounds and places all together. It was my first live concert, and I was not left disappointed. I can say for sure that I’m a convert and that I’ll definitely be attending more concerts in the future!