Usually Oxford Street at 4 o’clock in the arvo boasts nothing more than a few old guys having a VB at the local pub, and maybe a couple of loud and obnoxious girls with penis paraphernalia going out for a hens night. You can imagine how shocked they’d have been this past Saturday when Oxford Square was flooded with hundreds of music enthusiasts, transforming the street into the new music festival to keep an eye on, VOLUMES.
Unless you’re heavily invested in the local music scene, there’s a chance that you’d only know a few faces on this stellar line-up. That shouldn’t scare you away though – Volumes has delivered some quality bands that no doubt, will be hitting your commercial radio soon (albeit it might take a few years). The festival was delivered across three different venues – Oxford Art Factory, The Cliff Dive and Brighton Up Bar – featured all Aussie talent, including (but not limited to) Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders, The Laurels, The Walking Who, Shining Bird, The Pinheads, Methyl Ethel, FLOWERTRUCK, Blank Realm, and a whole hell more.
Perth’s Methyl Ethel captivated the packed room in OAF’s main stage, the three-piece delivering a dreamy set that reminded me of a hybrid between Animal Collective and The Beach Boys. They were a great way to ease into the bands my senses would be surrendering themselves to in the next few hours.
Next up over in the gallery were FLOWERTRUCK, and let me just say, if you haven’t seen these guys live yet, stop what you’re doing and grab a ticket to one of their shows this month. Right Now. Seriously. Okay, great. If I had to personify this band, they’d be that girl you see out with bright pink hair and doc martens, wearing the most beautiful floral summer dress you’ve seen. For one, the vocals have a striking juxtaposition to them; Hamish Dobinson’s vocals capturing a legitimate punk essence, whereas keyboardist Sarah delivered beautiful harmonies, transforming a band that could have easily fallen into a punk outlet into something with a little bit more sugar, and a shit tonne more depth and complexity.
A quick run down the road brought us to The Cliff Dive where Holy Balm were performing an intimate set to a room full of dance music appreciators, really reiterating the Volumes model of satisfying the senses with the rooms interesting and perplexing digital artworks. A light jog back to OAF Gallery delivered Wollongong legends, Shining Bird. Despite some audio difficulties, they played immaculately – something that wasn’t appreciated too much by the crowd who seemed to have one too many pre-drinks. At some points though, it was difficult to hear them play over the sound of talking and the occasional insufferable scream of girls seeing their friends. Shining Bird’s delicate aesthetic appeared to not be enough to captivate their audience unfortunately.
It seems that the technical issues leaked onto the mainstage too, with Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders suffering a similar fate to Shining Bird. Despite this, the band continued with a natural performative nature, cultivating a character that is associated with Jack Ladder – lust. I actually heard a girl swoon at one point, sighing “Oh my God. He’s just so sexy”. It oozed through everything he did, from the way he (and the rest of the band) commanded the stage, the smooth and husky delivery of the melodies, and the way in which Ladder worked with the smoke and lights, creating a dreamy effect that is so in sync with his sound. It’s no surprise he’s consistently compared to Nick Cave – his mannerisms and style of singing reflect the great Aussie legend seamlessly, yet Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders have still managed to solidify themselves as an original entity with spine-chilling melodies.