Blah Blah Blah Festival @ Riverlife, Brisbane (27/12/09)
Mon 4th Jan, 2010 Event Reviews 2202 viewsin
Living in the South Eastern corner of Queensland, we are blessed with an abundance of natural waterways around which our leisure lifestyle predominates, and many a weekend venture awaits its taking. None can be truer than that of the Brisbane River, where many an adventure along the glorious river banks brings activity to the city’s lifeblood. The Riverlife Adventure Centre at the base of the Kangaroo Point cliffs is one such place; however for the final weekend of 2009 the historic Naval Stores site was transformed for a very special offering unlike its usual. The local ADICTS crew responsible for the popular and regular Breaks & Enter gig nights proudly presented their two-year-in-the-making inaugural multi-area, festival – Blah Blah Blah – Brisbane’s newest boutique music gala.
On the approach to Lower River Terrace, clearly visible signs indicating closure, alternate routes and directions to the festival entry were the first sights of Blah Blah Blah taking place. Ushered through the entry by neatly dressed and friendly fit-looking Security in blue polo shirts, the colour-coding of the ADICTS crew in blue, the staff in green, along with artists wearing yellow arm-bands, and punters with blue, the professionalism and attention to detail was immediately evident as the order of the ADICTS crew.
Utilising the whole Riverlife facility, the ADICTS provided a few little extras that one may not have expected for such a gig. The two permanently erected marquees, hosted the BnE (nearest entry) and Allize (remains of Naval Stores 1 site) stages. The landing outside the main shed of the Adventure Centre between the two big stages became the Blah Blah Blah Deck with its own convenient bar. The small jetty house became the makeshift Merchandise Store, whilst shed itself housed the Eftpos service (with clearly signed charges) and Cloak-room, as well as a general Convenience type stall (with refreshing drinks and ice confection); not to mention the BBQ as well! The venue was simply perfect for the Blah Blah Blah festival, and the organising and logistics were very smartly planned. It wouldn’t surprise me if the ADICTS crew had a hand in ordering the low level clouds overcast the skies, which kept the potential sweltering heat at bay, adding complement to the glorious majesty of Brisbane’s sky-scraping towers next to the lush Botanical Gardens across the river.
The eclectic and unique musical offering provided diversity in both local, interstate, international, little-known underground and well-known artists each with their individual deliveries of breakbeat, big beat, electro, funk, hip-hop, house, reggae, and techno – or indeed a wonderful fusion. Not a follower of these musical styles, but familiar with some of the local and big name internationals, my appreciation for all kinds of music, allows my enjoying these smaller boutique or left-field type events a whole lot more than the larger commercial festivals. Not only is it an insight into fabulous musical talent that we have right here in our very own region, it draws a very different and discerning crowd of punters, that if it were allowed one would feel at ease bringing children to enjoy the musical delights and happy sights of punters truly enjoying themselves.
Without doubt the full instrumental and live outfits of The Grand Audio Family, Laneous & Family Yah, and Coalition Crew at the BnE stage, as well as The Rooftops and Golden Sound playing the Blah Blah Blah Deck each attracted my attention for the most part of the day. Unfortunately I couldn’t break from Bitrok to catch any of The Kelly Gang, but frequently scoring the early sets I wasn’t about to miss out on supporting and farewelling Ryan & Ollie in their final Dex ‘n’ Effects performance here in SEQ before being based permanently in Sydney ahead completing their first artist album. It was obvious these local lads have long been a favourite of the local breaks community.
With shortish live and DJ sets in the BnE and Allize stages, whilst the Deck had extended artist sets, often the crowd was split traversing back & forth along the walkway to catch one or the other. Jamie Stevens, Miles Dyson and Barry Ashworth each had enough pull at times to have me wander away from the Deck after 4pm, but not quite enough for me to enjoy my favourite DJ set of the day by the ‘Cronies Quatro’ of Scott Walker, Fergus, Kris-Ko, and Mike Redfern. Each with actual vinyl for a three-hour four-way back-to-back delivery, the local EDM community who’ve long supported these underground house music aficionados were in their element with a set that consisted of (don’t ask me what versions) Underworld – Two Months Off, *Chable & Bonnici *– Ride, Kosheen – Hide U, Astrix – Inside Your Heaven, Mory Konte – Yeke Yeke, Lamb – Gorecki, Kris-Ko’s remix of Farnham’s Age of Reason, and 3 Drives – Greece 2000, as the Cronies fueled their way with an esky full, having a ton of fun dropping timeless classics and anthemic bombs.
Rennie Pilgrem showcased his love of Detroit funky house, breaks and black music (think James Brown) that along with MC Chickaboo and his own visuals had the Allize stage rammed for the whole hour, and just as the rain began to cool things down a little. Back over to BnE to catch Lady Waks, but whilst she couldn’t be seen, requesting a third CDJ she could certainly be heard. Up the back I was very impressed with her mixing and clean segues in mashing up Technotronic (_Pump up the Jam_), into C & C Music Factory Everybody Dance Now, into Beach Boys Good Vibrations, then Black Box _Ride On Time, back into Beach Boys. Leaving soon after 8pm when *Kazu*’s set was swapped with Elite Force (due to tardiness), I was very satisfied having been part of this truly amazing day, and look forward to Blah Blah Blah Festival becoming an annual event on the ADICTS calendar of offerings!