In 36 degree heat, the inaugural City Limits Festival hit Badlands Bar on Sunday 5 March. Since Badlands’ inception they have been committed to creating a live music venue that champions the local, and if the success of this weekend’s event is anything to go by, City Limits is set to be a popular fixture on the calendar.
An early revelation was fresh-faced, five-piece Boat Show. Though they’ve been regulars on the Perth circuit for the last few months, this was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing them play. Loud and uncompromising with bickering and beer drinking, Boat Show played to a bunch of eager punters keeping cool inside the Badlands main room. Beat driven Suffocate set the scene early while Running Away was a catchy break in the heavy set. Watch this space, Boat Show are taking off.
Outside in the Badlands car park, Verge Collection delivered their languid songs with extra pep, rewarding the committed, albeit paltry crowd that hid in the shadows. These guys are easily one of the best bands in WA at the moment, so it was disappointing that the heat kept so many people away early on, though the festival organisers did their best to deal with the scorching weather by setting up sprinklers on the roof and keeping guests hydrated and sunscreened. It seemed fitting to see double pluggers splashing under the sprinklers during their quintessentially Western Australian songs.
Led by a polka dotted Mitch McDonald, Perth’s grunge kings The Love Junkies pulled crowds out of the shade and into the sun’s burning rays with 2013 release Maybelene a highlight of their set. Heavier than the recorded version, each strum sent shockwaves through the baking crowd.
The venue filled over the course of the day, selling out in the late afternoon. It was Bodyjar‘s Hazy Shade of Winter cover that sent cheers echoing down Aberdeen street, and Gyroscope‘s version of Midnight Oil track Beds Are Burning a welcome political statement. Plenty of nostalgic punters chanted their teenage anthems in front of the outside stage, culminating with Jebediah drawing the masses to their feet.
They offered an hour of nostalgia and excitement for a crowd who belted out the lyrics to their favourite tracks in unison. The last two decades have seen the indie-rock faves get better and better, with the songs delivered with flawless enthusiasm. While the first few bars of Jerks of Attention saw the ripping off of tee-shirts in the crowd (an unfortunate result of the excitement of a few, and one that lead singer Kevin Mitchell pleaded against) it was Animal that unleashed a beastlike frenzy of sweaty men launching themselves into the arms of strangers.
Ending the day indoors, hip-hop crew Downsyde made it clear that they are well and truly back. The venue was filled to capacity with everyone swept into the rowdy celebrations: a culmination of the day’s success.
Cheap drinks, a relaxed dress code and a tonne of awesome Aussie music meant City Limits Festival won over punters on a hot Sunday afternoon. Let’s hope this heralds more independent festivals for 2017.