Everything you need to know about what’s happening in Freo right now.
One of Freo’s finest, Moistoyster (via Moistoyster’s Facebook)
JD Future Legends & Noisey present THE NEXT ON TOUR series of summer gigs. Hitting six metro and regional cities around the nation, THE NEXT ON TOUR will showcase some of Australia’s rising musical talent.
The tour hits Fremantle at Mojo’s on Thursday 25th February when Melbourne’s Baro teams up with locals Evanda and Chiseko for a big night of hot hip hop. Every show is free but you need to RSVP now!
A friend who has been living in Fremantle for a year now stated, “The other day I left the house barefoot and just started walking around the streets of Fremantle. It might be time to move back to the city [Perth]." This statement is a key summary of the bohemian lifestyle of the harbour town of Fremantle—it's real casual. Sporting some thongs to a venue heaving beyond capacity on a Saturday night isn't even a second thought down in Freo.
If you were an outsider looking into the area I'd say that maybe you know it's the home of Spinning Top Music the management service reppin' Tame Impala, Pond, and Nicholas Allbrook, amongst others. The success of these bands spun off way too many dudes buying fuzz pedals or the past few years, only to turn out 'alright' pub psych rock. It got pretty tiring for a while there, like constantly watching a photocopy of a photocopy. The town has broken out of the same-genre loop, and a bunch of diverse talent is down there partying at South Beach.
Rock music is still the major winner in Fremantle. Moistoyster, a four-piece band that deviates into surf rock, is a good example of Freo right now. Their debut EP comes out next month, but check their clip—the dudes are pretty ridiculous. Actually most must-watch bands in Fremantle have a magnetic stage presence bordering on ridiculous, such as gutter-punk outfit Shit Narnia, a band that's franticness pulls back to throw out poetic lyrics on class systems and confused sexuality. If Hideous Sun Demon are ever in your town check them out; their recordings do not give their live performance justice. I think maybe some of them have moved to North Perth now? But whatever—they’re always playing in Freo and I think the suburban move may have been due to an existential crisis.
There is a ‘sad pop’ act to watch named Pool Boy. It's the closest thing Fremantle is going to get to Trish Keenan's Broadcast vibe—still far off, but all their recordings have been done with the built-in microphone on a MacBook. Tech woes.
Someone most certainly without tech woes is Leon Osborn. He's a Freo boy that's been flying by for a while in a pretty understated fashion considering his professional level of production. Maybe Leon is too mature for a 'one-to-watch' list, when his track "You Were Gone" has cranked 110k plays on Soundcloud, but what you gonna do? The dude's talented and keeps the benchmark high for other Fremantle-based producers.
Production on the ambient front isn't a common thing in Fremantle, but Sam Atkin is doing it right. In February last year he dropped his debut CDR Gently, Quietly—a release that got a heap of plays on go-to radio station RTRFM. Shortly after that release Sam popped up a cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill". He nailed it, and a spin shows you his competency and interpretation when it comes to making music.
It's not just about whom to watch though; the places to watch acts are also changing. J-Shed is a warehouse on Bathers Beach catering to those needing a big capacity, so far sporting summer shows with San Cisco and Koi Child amongst others.
Next month a 2,400 sqm basement of an old Myer building in Fremantle's Kings Square is being launched as a new art and performance space called Success. The launch coincides with Perth International Arts Festival and will see four exhibitions launching simultaneously. Success is divided into four galleries with the fourth being the dedicated performance and music area; however, this is a space for critical thinking, not a plugga-wearing punter.
Luckily for the plugga-wearing locals the real essence of Fremantle is in house gigs. Sam Newman and Kate Daniel are a duo that has really been pushing DIY anything-can-happen in the city centre and surrounds for the past year. In that short time they've developed Core Studios, a third floor establishment housing 35 practicing artists and musicians. It even features a jam room, which sees all the 'to-watch' acts above dropping by for rehearsing and recording.
Sam and Kate recently closed another of their projects called Hot Soup, a legitimate venue. It hasn't really been a loss to the community as it's forced them to be more creative and constantly hunt for interesting spaces in the area that accommodate any conceptual show they have. If you're not a local it could be hard to keep track of their movements so if you make it to Fremantle, ask around.
Sam threw the last party in a local church. Alongside live bands they staged a wedding, a funeral, and you even had to enter through a giant vagina “as a kind of rebirth” (to quote Sam). Unsurprising, really—that’s pretty Freo.
This article is presented in partnership with JD Future Legends