Come Together @ Luna Park, Sat 23rd April 2005

Posted by walking rek on Apr 24, 2005 in dancing rek, my ears are expensive |

The inaugural Come Together festival boasted an all Australian lineup of alternative and indie-dance cross over bands in a spectacular harbour side setting. An all-ages gig, this festival drew a friendly diverse crowd to Sydney�s beloved Luna Park.

Come Together was a triumph. At less then $60 a ticket, the event featured 30 edgy home grown acts as well as unlimited rides making Come Together excellent value for money. The defiantly non-mainstream program successfully combined quantity and quality across a wide range of musical entertainment.

Come Together was staged in the Big Top arena along with smaller space Spectrum, all smack bang in the middle of Luna Park�s side show alley. We were torn between watching the gigs and running amok amongst the families who were there for the day too. Lining up for the Wild Mouse ride offered a telling cross section of mums and dads, toddlers and punks. The seven nation army of Spazzy�s fans started a food fight with a gang of kids: uber cool noveau wavers traded sulky glances with boozy home boys: skater chicks pashed on with guys in tight black denim. It was on for young and old! This playground of ride-induced nausea, fashion and mischief was a circus; against the backdrop of loud music and rides, gleeful laughter filtered through the day and into the night.

Each band had 30 mins of show time to blow us away so the pressure was on to impress. There was little on stage banter as the performers powered through their best material, so we were treated to highly refined performances that were designed for maximum impact. The result was concentrated quality; rather then wandering off half way through a set due to lack of interest, I found myself compelled to stick around till the end of most acts even though there was so much to see and do.

The Spectrum Stage housed by the Popcorn Hall played host to bands such as Peabody, the Presets, Starky and the Panda Band. This room was on ground level with no audience elevation making it difficult to see the performers unless you were right up the front by the stage. Those over 18 who wished to buy alcohol had to stand behind barricades at the rear bar which was annoying. The room had a low ceiling and some odd fluoro lighting fixtures that cast an unhealthy glow without flux, whilst the lack of ventilation caused a thick humid cloud despite the venue being non smoking. The Presets were rad and got the crowd moving to their moody melodies and dark wave loops; a 2 piece outfit with synths, vox and live drums, these guys are the ultimate in tortured bliss.

The Big Top is a big joint with massive sound, great lighting rig and monster floor. We spent most of our time hanging out upstairs in the over 18�s balcony which offered supreme vantage points of the main stage. The sizable back room featured indie DJs spinning a respectable selection of cult classics to a transient audience under the golden glare of the Taj Mahal installation whilst the bar queue moved quickly and a beer cost $6. One problem with the Big Top was the lack of designated smoking + drinking areas: the only place in the whole festival where we could enjoy both together was an outdoor concrete slab fenced in underneath a screaming ride. It felt like an after thought and offered little shade in the heat of the day.

From a musical perspective, the Big Top gets props. The stage was split into halves allowing one act to set-up shop whilst another rocked out on the other side. This ensured a smooth transition between performances and delivered almost non-stop entertainment; for most of the evening it was difficult to leave the room for fear of missing something and I found myself catching acts I would not have ordinarily seen.

Gerling were always going to be larger then life: bouncing around the stage, this 3 piece have an infectious demeanor and hilarious lyrics. Infusion were a little more solemn in comparison: one of the acts I was desperate to catch, I found their set a far cry from earlier days. The 3 lads were joined by a dude on bass and another on guitar fusing dance and rock in what was a very serious and perhaps lack lustre rendition of recent material. Rocket Science were out of control � I love their dramatic sound, that Theremin, the way the front man throws himself about the stage and crawls back to hunch over his keys. Awesome. The biggest surprise of the night was the Spazzy�s; these girls were tight as F, and whilst I don�t really rate them lyrically, their set was kick-ass.

By this stage the Big Top was packed to capacity, the floor was a sea of punters slipping over in vomit, all hyped up on hurdy gurdy madness, beer and hot dogs; it was a far larger crowd then I had seen all day and the vibe in the room swelled along with it.

The highlight of the night was without a doubt those saucy blokes from Brisbane � Butter Fingers. They stumbled out on stage all messy, they weren�t really ready to start and bumbled around for a bit all apologetic. Then they nailed it with their opening number and took it from there; their set was super slick and covered all their hits as well as some of their punk interludes. Butter Fingers are hot stuff and fully deserved the rowdy response they received.

Come Together offered something for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of acts and found the all ages aspect pretty refreshing despite some underage drunkeness . The event was well organized and top value for money. But most of all, I had the best time running around Luna Park; it made this jaded punter feel like a kid again. Can I have another turn on the Ranger? Please!


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