WOMADelaide Part Two @ Adelaide Botanic Park 12-13/03/17 (Live Review)
For the 25th anniversary of Adelaide’s world music festival, WOMADelaide, the weather was uncharacteristically chilly, but unfortunately on the third day the weather had worsened and a rainstorm descended upon punters. However, the Adelaide crowd was prepared, bringing raincoats and umbrellas to the festival and were not going to let the rain dampen their spirits.
The first stop of the day was a dance workshop run by Adelaide based dance company, Alma Flamenca. The workshop had everyone surrounding the Zoo Stage on their feet and dancing along to the traditional Flamenco choreography. The dance company’s demonstration of traditional Spanish movements is just one of the unique experiences that WOMADelaide offers that sets it apart from other festivals.
An early highlight on Sunday was a performance by Melbourne-via-Ethiopia singer, Nhatty Man and his band, Gara. The group delivered an energetic set that combined a huge range of influences, drawing on traditional Ethiopian rhythms with reggae roots to upbeat jazz beats to all the way to groovy R&B. It was obvious that the weather was keeping a lot of punters away but Nhatty Man & Gara made sure that everyone who was braving the rain was having a spectacular time.
Over on the Moreton Bay Stage was local indie artist, Jesse Davidson and his band which included fellow Adelaide artist Timberwolf, aka Chris Panousakis. After seeing Davidson numerous times over the past few years, his awkward stage manner seemed quite different to what I had seen before, until I realised that it was a part of his act and by the end of his set he had the crowd laughing at his awkward persona. Davidson played a gorgeous set filled with luscious instrumentals and dreamy crooning vocals that had me filled with happiness as I danced in the (quite heavy) rain.
At the exact same time, the very talented Archie Roach was playing over on Stage 2. I wandered over expecting to hear the last of his set but instead walked into the band performing renditions of popular 90s R&B tracks. Although it might not have been what I was expecting, the performance sure had every member of the crowd jumping along.
Chilean hip-hop artist, Ana Tijoux was walking proof that music knows no boundaries. Despite that most of her raps were in Spanish, the crowd connected with her fierce hip-hop performance that she explained was politically charged with lyrics highlighting social injustice. Everyone around me was in awe of Tijoux’s pure talent as she commanded the stage with her ferocious vocals whilst also promoting empowerment for women and unity for all.
Someone suggested to check out Electric Fields, a collaboration between vocalist Zaachariaha Fielding and producer Michael Ross and I am so grateful that I did. I was not sure what to expect from the act but when Fielding began to sing, I was instantly hooked. The pair delivered probably the most theatrical and eye-catching performance of the weekend, as Fielding strutted across the stage and delivered soaring, powerful vocals over the top of pop-orientated electronic production. The duo was incredible and created such a positive vibe that I never wanted their set to end. Finally, I finished the day off at Electrolounge with a compelling set from Joy & Sparks, as she brought glitchy, experimental production combined with abstract, melodic vocals.
As WOMADelaide was beginning to come to a close, I was determined to try and see as many acts as possible to make sure I had not missed out on anything spectacular. After listening to a panel discussion on religion’s place in climate change initiatives, I wandered over to the Novatech stage for a seated performance for folk-rock artist, William Crighton. It was quite the family affair as Crighton performed with his brother and his wife which added authenticity as he sung about his childhood and family life. His lyricism really painted a picture of outback Australiana and the common grievances and desires of a small town.
After sitting down to nibble on some delicious tacos, I stumbled across Nattali Rize, a fierce vocalist who was preaching social consciousness. It seemed that a lot of acts across the weekend were quite politically charged, with a common sentiment being that there will be no freedom when there are borders and that people will rise up above oppressive governments. Behind Rize’s powerful vocals was reggae rock instrumentals as she brought out the guitar and even the bongos for a couple of tracks.
After attending an “Artist In Conversation” with L-FRESH THE LION the day before, I was super stoked to see him perform after hearing his experiences and influences behind his tracks. L-FRESH THE LION’s DJ, MK-1 got the party started with a huge mix of 90s hip hop bangers whilst Mirrah Reflects did a great job to get the crowd hyped and ready to move to the groove. L-FRESH THE LION is absolutely incredible live as he performed huge tracks such as Get Mine and 1 In 100,000 off his 2016 album, Become.
A great way to finish off the last day of WOMADelaide was a set from A.B. Original. The group have absolutely changed the Australian hip-hop landscape over the past twelve months, as they dig deep into the grave issues that face Indigenous people in Australia. Their set began with a traditional Ngarrindjeri welcome dance and a few spins on the decks by turntable pioneer, DJ Total Eclipse. A.B. Original then burst on stage and played tracks off their ARIA charting and Australian Music Prize winning debut album, Reclaim Australia. Although not everyone had previously heard of the duo, which is made up of Briggs and Trials, the group were received very well as the crowd got involved with putting their fists in their air for the more aggressive tracks and jumping along to the party starters. The group brought the ever-talented Caiti Baker out for tracks such as I C U and Dead In A Minute, as well as bringing out Dan Sultan on their huge hard-hitting track, January 26.
The 25th anniversary of WOMADelaide proved to be a huge success, providing exposure to underrated international acts and giving punters the oppurtunity to celebrate this universal love for music, culture and food.
Checkout Kerrie Geier’s Day 1 and 2 Gallery HERE
Checkout Kerrie Geier’s Day 3 and 4 Gallery HERE
AMNPLIFY – DB
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- Kate Sansome