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State of the Art (SOTA) Festival 2016

-by Conor Graham

On 6th June 2016, the State of the Art (SOTA) Festival was held at Elizabeth Quay, Perth. The festival was held to co-align with Western Australia (WA) Day.

The event on Monday was totally free to the general public and featured an incredible local line up of nostalgic and fresh talent for the masses to enjoy.

The weather was far from complimentary to the amount of effort that had gone in to the one day event but that did little to dampen the crowds spirits (classic rain related pun).

Due to a mix up in transport the first band I got to see where Mosquito Coast who graced the mainstage in the early afternoon. The mainstage was thankfully within a large circus like tent, but more on that later.

Without doubt Mosquito Coast provided the audience with the tightest bass/drum lock of the entire day. The captivating mix of dreary and dreamy elements fitted in perfectly with a soaking wet festival got a great reaction from the huge amount of revellers who got down early. Their mix of danceable beats and grungy melodies worked perfectly when they bossed a version of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac accompanied by their psychedelic display behind the band.

Following the Perth rockers was Mathas. The self diagnosed ‘Mind Music’ of the Perth based rapper had the crowd nodding, laughing and questioning their very existence as he charged about the stage. Once again a ridiculously tight bassist/drummer combo and a turntable DJ/Guitarist accompanied Mathas onstage. Maybe it’s the tech freak in me but I couldn’t stop looking at the bassists beautiful Ibanez Blazer neck/ Fender Jazz body mash up he had going on. Tasty indeed. The Rap/Hip-Hop/Rock blend as well as Mathas’ flow was aggressive yet well suited with a challenging message for all ages. ‘All the free shit in the world won’t free your mind.’

The Love Junkies then took to the stage and by took to it and I mean blew it up. The high energy of the local’s heavy grunge had everyone jumping. I think by this stage parents knew it was time to take the kiddies home. From the ceiling starers and gum chewers to the kids on shoulders and grandparents at the back, the morphing skeleton background and hard hitting tunes had the crowd transfixed. Once again The Love Junkies proving they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Then the time came, and boy was I excited. Freo’s funkiest outfit, Koi Child took to the stage with their fantastic hip-hop/jazz masterclass as usual. The boys just seem to have the best time onstage and as the tent filled up, it also seemed to sway with the sheer bliss of songs like ‘Slow One’. Now signed to Warner, Koi Child set to take their beautiful set up and songs to nations of the world and rightly so. Best band of the day.13403803_853176624786356_5555143588431201824_o

It’s at this time when I have to mention some of the less favourable parts of the day and not out of personal spite but due to so many people saying the same thing as the day went on, it would be wrong to ignore. For a free event, SOTA did amazingly and all in all the day was a storming success…however a few things just made the event a little sourer for some revellers. Most notably the number of under 18’s roaming the event unaccompanied by parents as the rules suggested, however fence jumping seemed to be the main culprit here which admittedly wasn’t helped by the lack of security visible. Kid’s flying about on scooters causing a number of bruised ankles wasn’t ideal either. Also by 6pm all of the available food outlets had sold out of everything except waffles and chips, which led a number of people to leave only to find they couldn’t return due to the large queue. The last thing I will say comes back to the mainstage. The mainstage under the tent was actually made up of two stages which allowed the flow of music to continue almost seamlessly as the day went on. Great idea right? Except sound check’s were happening as the other bands where playing! The best part of Ta-Ku’s set, their version of American Boy (American Girl), a relaxed electronic piece with beautiful female vocals was suddenly interrupted by heavy guitars and snare sound-checking. Really, really odd and something most people I talked to were confused about.

Having said all this, the event in general was a great success with all the bands putting on fantastic shows. This was no different for San Cisco and 90’s favourites, headliners Jebediah.

Thank you SOTA for treating Perth. We can’t wait for the next one.

Photo Credit: Matthew Picken

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