When it comes to tenth birthday celebrations, GOMA well and truly defeats your standard fairy bread-fuelled, piñata-smacking, party bag-offering affair.
Besides curating an incredibly extensive, eye-opening exhibition (Sugar Spin) to mark the milestone, the gallery held an all-age, free-of-charge summer festival for five days (18-22 January) jam-packed with artist workshops, tours, talks, performances and films.
The weekend schedule even boasted a bumper line-up of some of Brisbane’s beloved bands, bringing Yuuca, The Goon Sax, The Creases, Blank Realm and Regurgitator to the GOMA stage on Friday night, plus Emily Wurramara, Luke Daniel Peacock, I Heart Hiroshima, Jeremy Neale, Cub Sport and The Grates on Saturday.
Click here for photos from Friday night (20 January).
Upon arriving to the gallery on sundown Saturday afternoon (21 January), it didn’t take long to locate the makeshift stage by following the sound and the crowd leaking out of the venue. Indie-pop group Cub Sport had attracted massive audience numbers, a testament to the group’s thriving fan base.
Even standing to the side of the stage, view masked by sound equipment and eager listeners, the effect the band had on everybody watching was evident. People weren’t just entertained, they were genuinely excited, overly-eager and ecstatic, many singing-along to even the lesser-known songs and many more swaying and shimmying with genuine enthusiasm.
Cub Sport’s 2012 EP, ‘Told You So’, was cute and jangly at best, but the band’s recent sound progression was particularly evident upon hearing releases from their 2016 album. ‘This Is Our Vice’ is a definite game changer, heavy with layered synths, shimmering melodies and quirky lyrics.
Don’t let frontman Tim Nelson’s baby face fool you; the man is a talented performer and arguably a musical genius, equipped with an epic, vocal range and a captivating stage presence. ‘Come On Mess Me Up’ made its inevitable appearance at the end of the set, utterly beautiful and emotion tugging; a one in a million track.
The band’s ‘Like A Version’ of ‘Ultralight Beam’ was also well received, strong and soaring with rich harmonies. Covering Kanye West was a bold move though Cub Sport has done an exceptional job, cleverly arranging the piece in a way that highlights the song’s high points, all while tying in sparkling new elements.
In a seemingly bottomless pool filled with emerging artists swimming desperately for success, I can understand how Cub Sport managed to break through the surface and catch a breath of the music industry’s air.
Cloaked by a curtain of rainbow hair, vocalist Patience Hodgson led The Grates to the stage, beaming at the audience with an infectious grin and grasping the microphone with a flourish. Her bubbly attitude is what made the performance most memorable, constantly dazzling the crowd with a shining smile and embracing each song with passion and energy.
Big hit ‘Turn Me On’ was played surprisingly early, followed by a series of songs each similar to the last though all unwaveringly strong and ceaselessly entertaining. The band well and truly trashes any possible notion of being pop artists; they’re rock stars baby, embracing the attitude and capably showcasing the sound to prove it.
It was impossible not to dance along during the set; each track was invigorating, exhilarating and undeniably smile-inducing. Despite the fact The Grates are little noisy for my liking, Patience was an absolute pleasure to witness live and the band deserves all the praise and prominence they’ve gained throughout their lengthy career.
Granted, the venue’s acoustics were extremely poor; instruments drowning out the vocals and echoing unpleasantly; but that’s only to be expected. Art galleries were built to exhibit art for the eyes, not for the ears, yet GOMA still managed to appease to both.
It hosted a tenth birthday bash immensely more memorable than my pool party, all the while proudly showcasing the incredible amount of musical talent Brisbane has conjured up in recent years. I still wouldn’t have said no to a party bag, nonetheless.