pics: Nicole Matthews
The sun shone bright on the festival grounds of the Sandstone Point Hotel making this August day feel like it was the middle of summer. An absolute pearler of a day, there was no better way to enjoy the soul/indie festival, A More Perfect Union, featuring Gang of Youths, Matt Corby, Middle Kids, Budjerah, Romero, Becca Hatch and Jem Cassar-Daley.
Jem Cassar-Daley was first to hit the stage on this beautiful day with her stunning voice and soulful, indie pop grooves. Showing off her musical and vocal talents, Cassar-Daley played guitar and keyboard while singing some of her original songs, she also made mention of her love for Pheobe Bridgers, a big inspiration for the young star. Cassar-Daley was a beautiful start to A More Perfect Union!
Becca Hatch’s breathtakingly, soulful vocals were sent out across the Sandstone Point Hotel like waves to caress the ears of music lovers, calling them to the stage to dance and enjoy her unique RnB tunes. Backed by Dj Carolina Gasolina, the Sydney based Kamilaroi/Samoan artist’s dynamic grooves filled the audience’s souls as everyone danced to the music. A beautiful, groovy set, Becca’s beauty and vocal talent shines bright while she performed a stunning cover of John Farnham’s ‘Burn for You’ who she dedicated to the late Uncle Archie Roach.
Turning it up with ‘Turn It On!’ Romero’s punk/indie rock power pop sound hits the audience hard with exciting energy, great guitar riffs and ultimate party grooves! Continuing with those summer vibes, Romero was a great change of pace to contrast the soulful RnB. The guitar riffs were right, the bass was juicy and the chemistry of Romero on stage was fantastic. The audience was tearing it up, the grassy knoll had become a dance floor and the party continued until the end of Romero’s set, leaving everyone excited for more!
A great groove and the soulful sounds of backup singers introduced Budjerah to the festival’s audience and with a charming smile and a wave the young star began to beautifully vocalise the intro to ‘Higher’. A stunning and smooth energy, soulful RnB tunes followed Budjerah for the rest of his set, the Coodjinburra singer had the best of his charisma and vocal range displayed as the crowd grooved and danced to each tune!
Just as the sun started to set on the Sandstone Point Hotel Middle Kids lit a spark in everyone’s hearts as the intro to ‘R U 4 Me’ played and dancing ensued! Led by frontwoman Hannah Joy, the indie rock grooves orchestrated an excellent and energetic change of pace. Showcasing an amazing array of musical talent with excellent guitar riffs, keyboards, drums and bass, songs like ‘Questions’ and ‘Stacking Chairs’ had the crowd singing along wholeheartedly! With Miles Elkington absolutely shredding it on guitar during ‘Mistake’ and the setting sun lighting up the sky with gold, Middle Kids had festival goers enjoying every moment, right until the end with ‘Edge of Town’.
The sun had well and truly set when Matt Corby took to the stage, no shoes and ultimate smooth groovy, gospel vibes as he started to sing the opening to ‘Monday’. The crowd went wild! Corby‘s musical talents were on full display this evening, hopping into the keyboard to play, while belting out beautiful vocals. Corby danced along in between each verse and chorus, taking the crowd to his own personal church of complex musical grooves. Corby also picked up the guitar for ‘Resolutions’, a clear crowd favourite, and had everyone singing along with his stunning vocals! For a little break Corby took time to say hello to the crowd and to mention that he was very nervous tonight, as he was playing some new songs from his upcoming new album. This peaked the crowds excitement some more and right away he played a little new groovy treat! Hopefully this new album will be out soon to bless everyone’s ear holes! After playing a few more songs, old and new, Corby finished off with ‘Miracle Love’, everyone sang along with Corby again and “We got carried away” with a beautiful end to a soulful and stunning set!
In a cascade of sound and light the instrumental intro (you in everything) for Gang of Youths filled the cool night air for an impressive and tension built lead up before the colourful and explosive introduction to ‘the angel of 8th ave.’ kicked the crowd into a frenzy! There is no other way to describe the sound and feeling of Gang of Youths except an explosion of warmth that comes from the deep core of your heart and soul!
Front man David Le’aupepe brought an enormous amount of charisma and energy to the stage tonight as he swirled and danced around during and in between verses. A carefree spirit, Le’aupepe continued to have endless energy onstage as red confetti rained down on the audience during the second chorus of ‘the man himself’!
Each song was a show in itself, with insane strobe lights and instrumental talent out of this world the audience sang along, awestruck, to the next favourite “What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out?”. Le’aupepe had already confessed his love for Queensland, but shortly told the crowd off for not dancing hard enough at the start of ‘Let Me Down Easy’. “Queensland dance or you aren’t f***king going home!” and after two restarts, damn did the crowd dance!
Slowing it down with a solo performance, a single light lit up Le’aupepe as he sat down at the piano to play “brothers”, a beautiful moment of stillness and silence fell over the audience, as they were enraptured by Le’aupepe’s beautiful voice and the melody of piano keys.
The stunning intro to ‘Magnolia’ sent the crowd wild as everyone sang along, a dance riot ensued, with La’aupepe getting down off stage during the song and crowd surfing while singing! What a show!
‘The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows’ had Gretta Ray invited to sing for the first half in tribute to her ‘Like a Version’ of the song, she was then joined by Le’aupepe and the set was finished with ‘in the wake of your leave’. The whole band sat on stage with Le’aupepe playing solo and the crowd singing along with every word.
But wait! There’s more!! Gang of Youths returned to the stage for the encore, with La’aupepe playing the piano once more for ‘hand of god’. The entire band picked up their instruments again and played a stunning finish to the entire set with ‘goal of the century’, confetti cannons fired again and Gang of Youths finished with Le’aupepe on the piano once again, surrounded by the band. This was a beautiful, emotional and perfect end to a f***king fantastic set and a wonderful tour for A More Perfect Union.
See the full gallery of pics from A More Perfect Union here.