Review: Hot Dub Time Machine @ Summer Sounds Festival (Adelaide)

Hot Dub Time Machine played Summer Sounds Festival (Adelaide) on 31 January, 2021. Hot Dub Time Machine played Summer Sounds Festival (Adelaide) on 31 January, 2021.

After a month of Summer Sounds Festival performances ranging across rock, dance, nostalgia, and more, it was fitting that the grand finale would take a time-travelling romp through the best music of the last 70 years.

Hot Dub Time Machine drew an eclectic crowd (31 January) with some going the extra mile, dressing up in outfits to represent their favourite decades.

The bristling energy of thousands of people ready to dance was undeniable as we walked in the festival gates for the last time. And the crowd wasn't waiting for the main event to get the party started. The warm-up music was pumping and pods jumping as the infectious good vibes rolled around the place.

Owl Eyes (Brooke Adammo) was every part the disco queen as she kicked off the opening set with latest single, 'Tokyo' before hyping up the crowd to party hard and make the most of the night.

Bringing club energy to a festival isn't easy, but Adammo held the crowd's attention, dancing and skipping across the stage as she dipped into new album 'Invisible Woman', with the sultry sounds of 'Silver And Gold'.

A nod to Aussie pop-disco royalty had the crowd singing along to a great rendition of Kylie Minogue's 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' while the popular 'Heart Attack', co-written with Flight Facilities, was a highlight of the set.

The arrival of Hot Dub Time Machine (Tom Lowndes) on to the stage was heralded by the three-piece Hot Tub Brass section (saxophone, trombone, trumpet) belting out the familiar strains of 'Insomnia' by Faithless as the crowd was made a solemn promise: This would be the 'best party ever'.

As the clock wound back to the '50s, and 'Rock Around The Clock' merged into Ray Charles' 'I've Got A Woman' it was clear we were in good hands.

The '50s through '60s dished up a healthy swathe of songs from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack ('You Never Can Tell', 'Preacher Man', 'Jungle Boogie'), alongside the irresistible sing-along of 'Brown Eyed Girl' and foot-stomping rock of 'Immigrant Song'.

As time sped on and the music morphed through soul, rock, disco, country and everything in between, the choices were spot on at every turn, taking the crowd on a journey that was jam-packed with positive energy.

Owl Eyes jumped back on stage to sing a few bars of Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams' (while a cranberry juice video popped up on screen as a cheeky nod to the zeitgeist), before the Hot Dub Horns brought a great vibe to 'A Message To You Rudy' and had everyone pogo-ing in their pods.

Surprise guest Hugh Sheridan brought the show into the '80s, lending his superb vocals to George Michael favourites 'Faith' and 'Freedom'.

Not content to just play a superb collection of records, Lowndes interacted with the crowd as the set rolled on encouraging us to embrace our guilty pleasures: "No one is too cool for ABBA!"; playing up his knowledge of South Australian icons with a carton of Farmers Union Iced Coffee, and letting us know there were really only two songs to vote for in the Hottest 100 (Mashd N Kutcher's 'Get On The Beers' and Cardi B + Megan The Stallion's 'W.A.P').

Lowndes also took the opportunity to show off his DJ skills, cross-fading sweet song teases throughout the set, scratching like a madman, and melting Bjork into House Of Pain, into Fatboy Slim, into Daft Punk, like that was the way it was always meant to be.

As the night progressed, he ticked off a healthy sprinkling of Aussie artists including John Farnham, Natalie Imbruglia, The Living End, Hilltop Hoods, and Baker Boy.

There were also nods to meme culture with the 'Andrew… Katherine, Duc Dumont mash-up' and 'Wellerman' sea shanty, as well as a couple of lesser-known tracks thrown in to keep things interesting like Major Lazer's 'Roll The Bass'.

Through the decades the party powered on and created a magic that has been so sorely missed over the past year. While we were all in our individual pods we were definitely sharing the moment. It was easy to catch the eye of someone in the pod next to you, to smile and shout out and get the happy vibes sent right back your way.

The music picked us all up and lifted us back to the times of filled dance floors and no restrictions; the only difference was this time we had a little bit more room to move.

It's clear why Hot Dub Time Machine has become something of a juggernaut since launching at Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2012.

Celebrating the power of great music, the show dished up a night of non-stop fun that had every person in the place up and dancing without a break and floating out of the festival site at the end wholly satisfied that Hot Dub Time Machine had delivered on his mission; to create the Best Party Ever!



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