Oh Lion perform as part of Semaphore Music Festival.
This year Semaphore Music Festival (SMF) celebrates its 15th instalment, with the beachside suburb's annual gathering boasting a jam-packed line-up.
Aside from celebrating Adelaide’s thriving creative and performing arts culture, SMF also launch their inaugural Down By The River mini-festival that coincides with UNESCO’s Year Of Indigenous Languages.
Down By The River, held on Labour Day Monday, will see some of the nation’s most revered Indigenous singers, dancers, comedians, and storytellers (headlined by Frank Yamma) take to the stage to demonstrate the diversity and richness of Australia’s Indigenous cultures. Also part of SMF's 2019 programme is everything from market stalls, art shows and vintage fashion, to local and international food and wine merchants, and of course, tonnes of live music.
Spread across four days (4-7 October) and two venues (Hart's Mill Flour Shed and Semaphore Workers Club), SMF will host a slew of local acts to wet your whistle. One of the notable groups to play this year is Oh Lion, fronted by ramshackle pop groover/ radio producer Thom Lion.
Thom is a Semaphore local, with his band encapsulating the quintessential vibe of SMF; an overarching pop ethos to prick the ears of the masses, married to an off-centre folk timbre to remind everyone of the reason they’re gathered at the SMF grounds. That is, to experience something truly unique to their nook of the world.
“We played there a couple of years ago. . . It’s fun and it’s big. . . It’s very convenient [for me] because it’s only 100 metres away from my house. No need for a designated driver!” remarks Thom jovially.
When speaking with the charming and laid-back Thom, one could be forgiven for thinking he spends his days relaxing along the shores of the lazy beachside suburb that he hails from; Thom exudes a calming, ‘no worries, mate!’ attitude that’s almost infectious.
However, his reality is quite the opposite. As well as performing and composing original music, Thom spends his time neck-deep in a 24-hour news cycle. Known as Aquaman, he produces (and performs) a Flight Of The Concords-esque musical comedy/ current affairs radio show, Jodie & Soda, on Mix 102.3. He’s a busy man, to say the least.
An affinity for music has always been in Thom’s blood. “I grew up on the beachfront, and my parents had The Beatles and Elvis playing non-stop. So that influenced me in one way, and then my mum forced me to start playing piano. . . I didn’t really like it to begin with, but then it became a bit of an escape as a teenager.”
Thom and his band keep going from strength to strength. Formally known as Thom Lion And The Tamers, the collective have taken on a new moniker, aptly calling themselves Oh Lion. They released their latest single, ‘Valium’, earlier this year.
Aside from their performance at Semaphore Music Festival, Thom and Oh Lion tease us with news of an upcoming tour and EP release. “We just signed a contract with a French Label, so they will take care of our next single. That will be a couple of months away. . . and there will definitely be some more shows and possibly a tour surrounding that single. We will have an EP out early next year too. We’re having fun and can’t wait to see what the new year brings.”
Catch Oh Lion as well as Ollie English, Fleur Green & The Keepers and stack more at Semaphore Music Festival, which takes place 4-7 October.