Essential Music Festival @ Gaelic Club, Sydney (25/04/07)

Nudies were dusted off, ironic 80s video game shirts were ironed, thrashed converse shoes were tied, and sore hungover heads were nursed as Sydneys indie faithful made their way to the Gaelic club for the annual Essential Music Festival.

As most were in attendance the night before for –  “We Had Parties’, the day started slow and the initial attendance was looking rather low for the first few hours. The crowd that did manage to get out of bed on their day off was graced with the sounds of Sydney’s up and coming talent. They were new, they were talented, and they were in most cases needing a bit more practice.

Seabellies started they day off, playing their own brand of music that won them Garage to V last month. Wandering off the main-stage after hearing a loose, but talented Soft Tigers play, the Madison stage was opened by an extremely talented and extroverted Erin Marshall, whose beautiful voice, was matched by her catchy acoustic tunes, and bubbly personality.

Back to the main-stage, Flamengo Crash was on, and their catchy pop rock was a hit with the still smallish crowd that had made the day so far. As the crowds grew so did the bands, as the Madison stage room filled to ridiculous levels for the end of the Waysiders set, but I was unsure it was for the straight up rock of that band, or for one of the most anticipated bands of the day, The Dolly Rocker Movement. Bringing their Dandy Warhol-esque, synth driven, stoner rock, the overcrowded, overheated room swayed and nodded along to the music that should be on the radio now.

Cruising up the the newly opened Four Provinces stage, The Paper Scissors were getting into it in difficult circumstances. The rooms acoustics were terrible, but the band were just so tight and talented, none of the punters minded at all. While on the mainstage, the electro rock of Pomo Mofo could be heard, in the proud tradition of Gerling, they put on an energetic fun set, complete with air guitar and drums, which for once, were just so appropriate.

My dinner break took place to the sounds of Melanie Horsnell, which provided the perfect cruisy rock ambience to eat chicken burgers to, before I was on my feet again to catch an impressive set by Laura Imbruglia, who, as I was pleasantly surprised to find out, sounded very little like namesake Natalie.

However, as it reached 7, it was clear my presence was needed at the main-stage once again, as The Exploders were bringing the rawk to the festival. Doing songs that made me wonder why Wolfmother were Australia’s biggest rock band, while matching their talent by being genuinely nice guys on stage.

In between main-stage sets, Tsubis were admired, scarves were swapped, and this year’s range of American Apparel was examined by various punters in the room, before The Young and the Restless took stage. If anyone was trying to sleep on the couches, while sipping their Coopers or Gin and Tonic, they were instantly brought to their feet, to hear the frantic wails of yet another exciting Aussie band.

With Bit By Bats, Dappled Cities Fly, and the ever brilliant Gerling closing the main-stage, the Essential festival proved once again that music is alive and well in Sydney, and we don’t need the radio, with their mainstream presenters to tell us what to listen to. Next big thing award goes to the Dolly Rocker Movement, while the surprise act of the day award belonged to Pomo Mofo. Go out, see these bands, and any others on this bill, because anyone that went along on Wednesday, will quickly agree with me.