WRAP UP: Small World Festival 2015

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As soon as I entered Small World Festival with my pals mid-Saturday afternoon I immediately knew it was going to be a great day. The weather was absolutely spot on, refreshingly cool, but not quite cold enough to wear a jacket (although bringing one did pay off later in the evening).

The mini natural amphitheatre within the beautiful Sydney Park (situated in the Inner West) was a fantastic choice of venue, one which I believe should be used more often for these types of events. Even though the stage wasn’t a huge size, it was still large enough to cater for some of the explosive performances we were about to witness, while simultaneously creating a very intimate environment. Also, if you’re anything like me, festivals with multiple stages usually stress me out, so it was a relief that I didn’t have to take part in a walking marathon for each set.

We strolled through the venue listening to the SPOD fronted AC/DC cover band BON VOYAGE, before making the grand decision to grab some of the excellent food on offer from one of Newtown’s favourite pubs & bistros, Mary’s. After ordering a burger each and a side of chicken wings from their famous menu, we found a nice, unoccupied spot on the hill and began to nestle our taste buds into our A+ food choices.

ALL OUR EXES LIVE IN TEXAS were playing their cover of The White Stripes‘ ‘Hotel Yorba’ and with tasty Young Henrys beers also in our possession, spirits were running high. That’s until, the unexpected happened. Two puppies sprinted through the gates (which we unfortunately were sitting about 10 metres away from) and headed straight towards our luscious food! One of them even managed to get a couple of licks of the delicious chicken wings we were very much looking forward to.

Thankfully, our friend Jez (pictured below) scooped the cheeky offenders off the ground so we could continue eating our food in peace, minus the corner of a licked chicken wing which we had to forfeit. As you might be able to see, judging by our faces on the left, all we could do was smile.

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Considering sitting down wasn’t working out much for us, later in the afternoon we thought we’d get amongst it a bit more for JACK LADDER & THE DREAMLANDERS, a supergroup featuring the ridiculously talented Kirin J. Callinan on electric guitar, Donny Benét on bass, Laurence Pike (also of PVT) on drums, Neal Sutherland on synthesisers and of course, Jack Ladder himself on guitar and vocals.

Earlier this year, after seeing the band play at The Secret Garden, I honestly wasn’t completely sold on their live show, as I expected more energy in both their music and stage presence, but during this performance it was all very different. Everything they did was so powerful and you could hear each musician’s instrument played flawlessly throughout the entire show. “Everything Kirin does is so dramatic, in a good way”, my friend commented, while Jack Ladder proved again why he is one of the coolest performers in the Australian music industry.

Constantly showing off his admirable slick style, him and his band worked their way through tracks from their record ‘Playmates’ such as ‘Come On Back This Way’, ‘Her Hands’ and the intense ‘Reputation Amputation’, which was so explosive in the live setting it heavily resembled Nine Inch Nails.

Next up we were all very excited to witness a well overdue live performance from Sydney electronic three piece PVT, who were celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their incredible debut album ‘Make Me Love You’. PVT began their set with the relaxing ‘Shiver’, before commencing into ‘Evolution’ and ‘Homosapien’, all from their latest LP released in 2013.

When I interviewed Laurence from the band last month, he seemed quite unsure whether they’d perform any tracks from their first album for this show, but it was explained on stage that their manager insisted on at least one. Making the nights of every long term PVT fan in attendance, they surprisingly spoilt us with not one, but two tracks – ‘Make Me Love You’ and the amazing ‘Montecore’. We also heard a new song called ‘Kangaroo’, which I believe could be up there with their best work yet, as well as ‘Nightfall’ and their classic hit ‘O Soundtrack My Heart’. Overall, PVT put on their usual solid performance which I’m sure we’ll see a lot more regularly over the next year or so, especially after the new album is released in early 2016.

DZ DEATHRAYS, who I described on the night as “a security guard’s worst nightmare” and “the perfect act to drink decent beer to” followed PVT as the second last band on stage. Every time I witness these guys live they immediately turn the crowd into a bunch of maniacs you never knew existed. ‘Gina Works At Hearts’, ‘Less Out Of Sync’ and ‘Reflective Skull’ were among the tracks which caused intense circle pits, crowd surfing and reckless (and mostly harmless) behaviour throughout their set. As always, it was live rock and roll music in its purest form. Thank you DZ!

Concluding the evening, veteran rock act THE CHURCH blasted out their catalogue of hits which included their timeless song ‘Under The Milky Way’, creating a joyous finale to a no bullshit day of great music, beer and food. See you next year!

Words by Tony Kingston
Top photo by Ash Berdebes (FBi Radio)

SEE ALSO:

INTERVIEW: PVT
TOUR DIARY: JACK LADDER & THE DREAMLANDERS IN THE U.S
INTERVIEW: DZ DEATHRAYS

About:

During the week Tony works in a busy retail corporate office. Once day becomes night, there’s a good chance you’ll see him at a gig or DJing at a house party.