WOMADelaide Part One @ Adelaide Botanic Park 10-11/03/17 (Live Review)
On Friday night, Adelaide’s music festival WOMADelaide kicked off to a roaring start with a stellar line-up of both local and international acts. The four-day music festival originally debuted back in 1992 as a collaboration between the Adelaide Festival and Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) and is now held annually in Adelaide’s Botanic Park.
WOMADelaide not only brings a variety of acts from across the world, but the festival also hosts a huge array of food stalls, a children’s activity area, a “taste the world” cooking program and a speaker’s corner for discussions on sustainability, innovation and interviews with artists. The festival is a unique experience that encourages punters to experience and celebrate other cultures and the universal language of music.
WOMADelaide officially began on Friday night with a traditional Kaurna Welcome to Country hosted by Steve Gadlabarti Goldsmith, an Elder of the local Kaurna people. Following the Kaurna Welcome, the festivities kicked off with a performance from Polish seven-piece Warsaw Village Band over on the Foundation stage. The group embraced traditional Polish folk influences, mixed with modern punk styles to create an edgy sound that was the perfect genre-bending performance that WOMADelaide is all about.
Over on stage three was Xylouris White, a musical collaboration between Cretan lute player, George Xylouris and drummer, Jim White, from Australian instrumental rock band, Dirty Three. This unlikely pairing made for a thrilling performance that was an exhilarating and experimental journey filled with melodic moments mixed with traditional folk roots.
A highlight in the art department was exploring Cie Caraboose, an interactive art installation that ran each night that was strikingly beautiful; not only because it combined intricate wooden sculptures with fire, but because it was politically charged and explored the universal right to freedom of movement that many refugees are refused.
After exploring Cie Caraboose, the stunning Montaigne took to the Novatech stage, which immediately appeared as quite the drawcard for the younger crowd on Friday night. The Melbourne singer has been a favourite on Triple J since she was announced the station’s Unearthed Finalist back in 2012. Montaigne is known for her enchanting stage presence as she captivated the crowd with her incredible vocal abilities. Montaigne delivered tracks from her 2016 debut album, Glorious Heights, which shifted between emotionally expressive tracks to songs influenced by dazzling eighties electro-pop.
Meanwhile, over on the Zoo stage, Darwin singer-songwriter, Caiti Baker was absolutely destroying it with her beautiful vocals and commanding stage presence. Baker is the incredible female vocalist on A.B. Original’s huge track, Dead In A Minute and previously worked with producer James Mangohig for their electro-soul duo, Sietta. Her solo work sees her melding old school blues with hip-hop for a modern take that had the whole crowd grooving and shaking.
The first day finished up with a DJ set over on the Novatech stage from DJ Rich Medina. The set combined house and electro while also blending funk and soul influences from around the globe. Medina’s set was the perfect way to round out the first day of WOMADelaide.
The second day began with a yoga session over by the Moreton Bay Stage and had the early crowd stretched and energised for the long day to come. After exploring various stalls and listening into an artist discussion with former Archaeologist and music composer Sir Tim Smit, I finally wandered over to the Morton Bay Stage to hear the gorgeous indie-folk sound of local singer-songwriter Mane. The artist, who you may also know as Paige Renee Court, delivered a set filled with ethereal vocals and hauntingly beautiful instrumentals that captivated the large crowd.
Next up on the Foundation stage was Korean percussionists, TAGO, who delivered a theatrical performance filled with breathtaking martial arts moves combined with traditional Korean percussive instruments. Their choreographed drumming was a thrilling experience as the entire ensemble moved with such coordination and precision.
After nibbling on some delicious chocolate brownies, I wandered over to Stage 2 to see Bokante, a new group that sees eight talented musicians from four different continents to perform a gorgeous mix of blues and jazz with their unique cultural influences. Lyrically the jazz collective explores the urgency of social awareness while preaching unity, love and connection.
Angus Stone is no stranger to the WOMADelaide festival, but this time he was performing as his side project, Dope Lemon. Dope Lemon’s sound is this gorgeous melodic, coastal rock filled with cruisy guitars and lush vocals. The whole crowd, which was mostly underagers, screamed as the band began to perform, Coyote. Dope Lemon also performed tracks from their recently released EP Hounds Tooth as well as tracks from their debut album Honey Bones. The blissful backdrop of the sun setting over the Botanic Gardens mirrored the laid-back, cruisy vibes of Dope Lemon.
As the evening progressed, The Waifs made their long-awaited return to WOMADelaide over on the Foundation Stage. The Waifs clearly were on absolute high to be playing such a large crowd, asking “could this night get any better?” as they noted the bright moon and large raindrops that were beginning to fall. The stunning outdoor setting allowed everyone to connect with The Waifs’ gorgeous folk acoustics and even though some of their songs are over fifteen years old, the band managed to make these tracks sound vibrant and fresh.
We finished Saturday evening over at Electrolounge, dancing along to the sweet, sweet tunes of local act Flamingo. The three-piece combines lush electronica with dreamy, pop melodies that was the perfect send off for the second day of WOMADelaide.
Checkout Kerrie Geier’s Day 1 and 2 Gallery HERE
Checkout Kerrie Geier’s Day 3 and 4 Gallery HERE