Sydney’s inaugural Volumes festival presented over 35 Australian musical acts, including Noisey and THUMP favourties Blank Realm, friendships, Gold Class, Canyons, Catlips and Day Ravies, across three live music venues in the cultural heart of the city.
Wrist-banded punters moved freely between The Cliff Dive Bar, Oxford Arts Factory and Brighton Up Bar to take in immersive spaces and carefully co-curated line-ups from I OH YOU, Wollongong’s Farmer & the Owl and Gold Coast’s Strange Yonder, all presented by NOISEY and THUMP.
Inspired by showcase festivals like UK’s Great Escape and SXSW, Volumes first year was particularly ambitious in light of the city’s recent venue closures and lock out laws but the festival was successful in supporting emerging Aussie talent and helping to reinvigorate Sydney’s live music scene.
Here are some of our highlights. Methyl Ethel
Image: Sam Brumby I did a bad thing. I relied on that expectation that the first couple of bands are usually avoidable but to my detriment I missed wildly raved about performances from Pinheads and Mezko.
I did arrive in time to catch Perth’s Methyl Ethel packing out the main room of Oxford Art Factory. The three gentle looking lads play a good measure of dreamy indie pop but it was Jake Webb’s vocal range that glided between haunting fragility and powerful vocal range that truly mesmerized. Flowertruck
The dreamlike surrounds of the OAF gallery couldn’t have been a better setting for Flowertruck and their synthy pop goodness. Usually happy go lucky indie jangle indie isn’t my jam, but these guys pull it off because what they are producing is quite simply great non-bullshit pop music. Den
My vibes on Den weren’t strong the first time I heard their recordings and I was puzzled at the buzz they’d attracted after only two live performances. But as I stood almost impaled in front of the middle of room staircase in Brighton Up Bar - I got it. Yeah they can sound derivative of bands like Iceage and The Horrors post punk days, with a little of local heroes Low Life thrown in the mix, but the pastiche is so artfully woven it morphs into something impressive. Holy Balm
Image: Volumes Sydney’s favourite synth trio, Holy Balm were fantastic as always. Playing to a devoted crowd at THUMP’s own Cliff Dive Stage, they glided through forty-minute set of their distinctively sharp and gloomy dance beats. This band exists in a unique limbo between punk/lo- fi and dance music and will make you move. World Champion
Playing to a packed Oxford Arts main stage Future Classic’s newest buzz offering didn’t fail to impress. Although a fullness of sound was missing at some points that’s nothing a live bass player will be able to address. The pinnacle of the World Champion set came with their recently released "Avocado Galaxy", that channels a very strong Jagwar Ma vibes, but that could be due to the fact that it’s coproduced by Jono Ma himself. Gold Class
Gold Class are post punk with heart and soul. Apart from his impressive vocal delivery lead singer Adam Curley is an intense and brooding enigma, unlike any front man I witnessed that day. There are few voices of meaningful dissent left in rock music. Even fewer play with the savagery, subtlety and melody of Gold Class. I’m really looking forward to this Melbourne band’s debut album due out later this year. I like this band a lot. friendships
friendships gracefully took the stage and quipped; ‘Thanks for coming to see us we are Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders!!!” before catapulting into their dark and dubbed jungle train of beats. Those who skipped out on the brooding headliners were rewarded with a ferocious live show. I love Jack Ladder, but this Melbourne duo are in a different playing field and their menacing performance was mirrored in the brilliant riot they created on the dance floor. These guys were the definite highlight of Volumes.