Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung
HyperFest, Perth’s largest drug, alcohol and smoke-free event went off last weekend. This year, the festival which has been running since 2000, featured some of Perth’s best and brightest acts on its line-up as well as an array of notable interstate favourites from various genres.
Starting the day off with their energetic set, Perth locals Rag N’ Bone brought their haunting ballads with post-punk undertones to the main stage. Kiera Owen, the band’s leading lady with wailing vocals searched the audience’s soul using her powerful eerie voice to cause goose bumps not only on my skin but fellow festival goers as well. Belting out tracks from their new EP ‘A Woman Under The Influence’ Rag N’ Bone’s member’s personalities bounced off one another on stage as they dug into the core of the songs to expose grit and an evocative reality.
Electro-pop enthusiasts Grrl Pal continued the high energy vibes well into their set. Angelic, psychedelic and bringing some sparkle to the stage, Jay Le Kat, Danny K and Jacob Sawyer with their reverby high impact beats, resonant vocals, and dream pop soundscapes took HyperFest’s main stage with prowess that you can only assume will help them on their journey to exposing Grrl Pal’s music to a larger audience. You can catch them live at their ‘Paradise’ EP Launch Friday 17th if you missed out on their sweet sounds or just want to get another dose after HyperFest.
By the time 3pm rolled around and Japanese Wallpaper strolled on stage, a crowd had gathered around the barrier eager to revel in Gab Strum’s chilled electronica. The 18-year-old who recently won Triple J Unearthed High has been busy making a name for himself across Australia, releasing his fresh new track ‘Forces’ featuring Airling’s lush vocals. The song was clearly a hit amongst the similar aged festival goers and it was empowering to see someone within the same age group as me up kickin’ it on stage.
Perth emcee, Coin Banks took to the stage shortly after Empty, continuing on with the quality hip-hop. With supreme skills, Dan played on the atmosphere of the crowd, freestyling and spreading good vibes. The standout moment in his set was his live rendition of ‘Someone’, a track that provides the Velcro for its audience to place their heart on their sleeves…an honest open letter minus the clichés.
As the sunset descended so did Slumberjack, with their bass-heavy hooks and more than satisfying beat drops, HyperFest goers were pumped and boy what a crowd they were! Morgan and Fletch appeared completely comfortable on stage as they did their thing and brought more than a few ‘bangers’ to the crowd of teens ready to dance. With beach balls flying through the air, it felt a little like a Miami rave minus the sand but there honestly isn’t anything like being right in the thick of a sweaty crowd appreciating some off the charts EDM.
Performing an entourage of hits from his album ‘Cinematic’ including ‘One For The City’, ‘On & On’, ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Youngbloods’, the highly anticipated headliner for HyperFest, Illy rocked the main stage like no other. With the grass packed from the minute he was at the signing tent, the eager crowd awaited Illy’s stage presence and somehow I don’t think even the security guards were prepared for the excited screams that ensued. RIP everybody’s ears.
As the sound system was brought to life with the sounds of Aussie hip-hop, it was stirring to witness that amongst the fame Illy has racked up, his earlier tracks still held a worthy spot on his set-list. ‘Cigarettes’ and ‘It Can Wait’ conjured a real raw emotion from the main stage crowd as everyone got lost in the moment jumping and swaying to the beat.
Celebrating its 15th year roaming the plains of Perth music festivals, HyperFest with its appreciation for good music and the local community delivered yet again. If you missed out this year start saving your pennies (and I literally mean pennies) with tickets usually going for $30, it’s a festival students can afford sporting line-ups worth catching public transport for.
Photo Credits: Fabrizio Francazi & Perrywinkle Photography