It’s a rare occasion when my entire being doesn’t internally convulse when I use the word ‘vibe’; the effect of its utterance from my mouth is not dissimilar to your parents using ‘rad’ or ‘gnarly’. Other than establishing my lack of suave social status what does this have to do with, well anything? St Kilda Festival is all about the vibe. There’s no demographic and, despite ample room on my forehead, no prerequisite for bindis. The only pressure is covering an entire festival as a writer.
Then the festival clicks for you. You can’t do everything in one day and there it is… the vibe. See the artists you’re able to and enjoy it with what would be a normally inexplicable joining of a cross-section of society, some tanning and most others joining me in a Dulux shade of Celtic Pink Hell. So, while slowly baking, here are the best three acts of St Kilda Fest ’18.
Maddy Jane seamlessly balances refreshment and warmth, the kind of artist who doesn’t yet recognise their sheer ability. There is nothing spurious about her, rather the strong Australian-lilt in her music is more like a homecoming with zero whiff of novelty.
Experiencing Maddy is like a double-sided serenade with two of the sweetest sounds; the gentle wisp of her voice and the crisp hiss of opening your first beer on a hot day. Her music is based around relatability and her relaxed persona on-stage does little to dispel this.
“A lot of artists will agree that you’re never really that chill in your head. The biggest thing for me is that I’m relating to everyone and looking at people in the crowd as my friends and explaining to them what I’m doing or feeling,” Maddy states.
There is something about the flow and grace of Maddy’s songs that can’t help but make you feel as though water plays a part in her writing. Its freedom is all-embracing and entices you to return to a riverbank you’ve never been to, yet somehow it still feels like home.
If you want to talk about honesty, here’s your band. There’s a societal element in lyric and performance, but the anarchic style often seen with such content is replaced with a sense of unity through smooth lyrical performance and a seamless combination of saxophone somehow perfectly balanced out with electro and deep drumlines. When the sax is as heavy and relevant as the funk guitar solos you know you’re watching something special. It should have been a tough one for the WA boys as all of was this in front of an afternoon family crowd.
“I think there’s so many amazing bands in Melbourne that getting to play a stage at any festival is an honour. It’s about going harder and if we push it people are going to want to get up and dance,” frontman Nelson Mondlane explains.
The overwhelming impression left by Pow! Negro is a need to see them again. Not only for the love of their sound but to work out what kind of purebred-mongrel just hit you so damn hard in the face.
How can you not want to dance when Mallrat smiles through every single lyric to slick beats and works the crowd with her mellifluous tones. Then a perfect summer beat drops and the sweetness remains, but we’re allowed an enchanting glimpse of her urban streak as she moves with underground confidence. If punters can get into a track sung in Japanese, you know you’re watching a supreme talent.
“The crowd were really beautiful, people on shoulders and stuff you know. Actually, I saw two people on one guy’s shoulders,” Mallrat says.
Hesitantly, you could categorise her music somewhere on the pop-spectrum, if only for the bliss she instils. If Jekyll and Hyde were a love story between discovering filthier beats and retaining the purity of a honeyed voice– I would heavily wager this being the storyline of the near future for the pint-sized producer.
Image by Matsu