Sounds Loud Festival – 9th of April

Weather can make or break a festival, even with a star studded line up with your favourite band performing. There needs to be the right vibe and conscious of the crowd in order to keep the day going. For half the day the clouds threatened to release a downpour over Queens Park in Moonee Ponds and of course it did eventually; right when I entered the gates. After the first five minutes of squealing girls running for cover the crowd decided to trudge through and make their way back to the stages and had a great time watching some brilliant performances. According to reports of some festival goers Ruby Rose gained a large crowd when she began her DJ set, but over time quite a few people wandered over to see Stonefield and won over many festival goers. Hunting Ground – formerly known as Howl – were a crowd pleaser. Despite claiming they were a tad off instrumentally due to playing with new equipment no complaints were heard.   Illy along with special guest MCs Cam Gilmour and M-Phazes kept the audience moving. Aussie Hip Hop can be a divisive genre but it drew in a large proportion of the patrons. The writer dashed over as soon as he heard Jimmy Reckard in the hope that Drapht was playing, alas it was only the track playing and not the man himself. John Steel Singers were a personal highlight of the festival, with the sextet performing a lot of their songs from Tangalooma and a smattering of their earlier songs. If the enthusiasm of the crowd was measured by the couple at the front of the stage ramming into people in an attempt to make a mosh pit then ‘Rainbow Kraut’ as well as ‘Overpass’ were clear favourites. In true rock style the bassist decided to throw his guitar at the end of the set, which seemed a bit out of place in such a relaxed atmosphere but it definitely left an impression. Between John Steel Singers and Oh Mercy most left to see Muscles on the other stage but left straight away; If one was not already a fan the lyrics, ‘Hey Muscles, I love you, I want to have your babies’ along with the artist asking technicians in a middle of a song is not exactly the best way to win over a crowd. Oh Mercy had a surprisingly good set. Having seen them perform at Laneway as well as a supporting act for Grizzly Bear the writer did not think favourably of the band; that is until this day. A tight set with a definite improvement on their sound in the past year had the crowd enthralled as they played. The only downside was that singer Alexanders’ dulcet voice was as drowned as the audience for most of the time due to the drums situated right behind him. As a whole the all age drug and alcohol free event was an overwhelming success. With a good range of artists from up and coming local performers to better known performers and a really jovial atmosphere permeating the park, it is indicative that Sounds Loud Festival 2012 will be an event not to miss. -Mason Smith

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