St Kilda Festival 2010 - The Push Stage
Sunday February 14 2010, St Kilda.
St Kilda Festival 2010 was a day of short shorts, floral skirts, live music and entertainment, food and plenty of sun. Thousands of people turned out to have some beachside fun as the festival celebrated its 30th year. The usual festival-type stalls were there, selling everything from T-shirts to food of the world.
St Kilda Festival Sunday was spread along the beach and surrounding roads. The main roads around this area were blocked off to cars which meant taking long detours and parking a long way away. Parking was an absolute nightmare for anyone who didn't arrive early in the day. The best option was to catch a tram, train, bus, or to cycle or walk.
More than 50 bands performed across the many stages, including an impressive lineup at the Push Stage.
The Push Stage
Nestled between the looming walls of the Palais Theatre and Luna Park was the Push Stage.
Melbourne all-girl band Iotah started the day with a ripping set that included electrifying riffs and keys. The four Findlay sisters have previously described their influences as Led Zepplin and Frank Zappa, and those influences were certainly evident during their set.
Apart from being the only girl band on the lineup, Iotah were set apart by the fact that their drummer, Amy Lee, is also the lead singer. A fantastically refreshing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" ended the set.
One of the highlights of the day was Triumphs of Oriana, who followed Iotah. They proved to be an incredibly versatile band that produced melodic, toe-tapping songs. At times their music was mellow, beautiful, and easy-listening. At other times their influences of world music was apparent, with the boys creating lounge bar jazz music with their electric guitars.
People walking past the stage stopped to listen, and the crowd was clapping along to the music. It was hard to pick a favourite song from this group of talented musicians because every song was catchy and sounded well-rounded.
You know a band must be good when the crowd starts gathering at the stage early before they play. This was the case with the third band, The Electric Stranger. The boys opened their set with "This Is Happening", and got the crowd clapping along to "The Young Man".
Their synth/pop music featured two synthesisers, a bass guitar and driving drum beats. James Howard and Hayden Lee provided distinctive vocals to create songs that could have been pulled straight from the 1980s. Imagine if the Pet Shop Boys, Devo, and the vocals from Faker all came together in a young electro-pop band.
At the conclusion of their set, The Electric Strangers announced they had just finished their first EP, "Dreamers and a Neon City", which was available to buy on the day.
The Kalaharis got the crowd bopping along to their fun songs as the fourth band of the day. For a band that only started playing public gigs in 2009, they are certainly are a great live act.
After supporting Evermore in October 2009, the boys took a much needed break to focus on school exams. They're now back with a debut EP, from which they played four songs. They also played two older ones and a fantastic cover of The Killer's "Mr Brightside". Fans of Frenzal Rhomb and The Living End will love The Kalaharis. The crowd certainly did on Sunday!
"St Kilda festival for us was such a fantastic day. I couldn't get the smile off my face for the whole set," said drummer PJ. "We are very appreciative indeed to have had the privilege to be a part of such a big event. Any band in our situation would be the same I'm sure, but it has certainly been an experience we will not soon forget."
If experimental/post hardcore is your thing, then Sienna Skies was the band to watch. Having just released debut album Truest of Colours in December 2009, the six-piece band played a solid, tight set that included many new songs. Their hardcore antics and energetic onstage performances are always a pleaser to crowds.
The biggest act of the afternoon was headliner City Escape. A huge crowd gathered early and grew to an impressive size before they were whipped into a frenzied mosh once the band started playing.
It was City Escape's first show since touring around Australia with The Secret Handshake (USA). They played a mixture of older songs and new songs from their debut EP "Avalanches" including "Now, The Hard Part" and "When the Vultures Start to Circle".
The crowd sang along, clapped and moshed to the solid set. City Escape are definitely a band to see live, as they have an amazing stage presence and engage the crowd. If you missed them on Sunday you can catch them as they continue to tour extensively around Australia in 2010.
Overall I'd give this gig a full 5 out of 5.
A last word..
If you're planning to go to the St Kilda Festival Sunday next year, here are some vital tips:
- Catch public transport
- Wear sunscreen and a hat
- Take a water bottle
- Wear comfy shoes - you'll be walking everywhere
- Check out www.stkildafestival.com.au (new window) for a program guide and map
Don't forget to look out for more Push events at www.thepush.com.au (new window).