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Cronulla, the “place of the pink seashells,” is a beachside suburb, about 30 kilometers south of the Sydney central business district in the Sutherland Shire, an area serving as the backdrop for the classic 1981 coming of age movie Puberty Blues, for which a big part of today’s laid-back, beachy crowd would have been the perfect cast – given that Sounds of the Suburbs festival is aimed at Sydney’s beautiful young things, people aged 18 to 24.Squeezed into the Wilbar laneway behind the Space 44 gallery, which quintessentially turned a house into a live music and arts venue, and the Mexican restaurant/bar El Sol, the fourth installment of the boutique-y yet burgeoning Sounds of the Suburbs festival was held.
Sounds of the Suburbs is a laneway festival packed with Sydney’s newest and brightest of the indie variety, the odd touring band, Mexican food and culture located deep in the southern suburbs of Sydney. Summa summarum: All the key ingredients for a great DIY festival.The 2016 all-day indie bill incarnated on multiple stages, one of which open for anyone bringing a device and plug whatever they wanted in, were supplemented by an art room displaying works from local creatively inclined folks, as well as Mexican food from El Sol and Italian wood-fired pizza.Unfortunately only Budweiser was served on the beer front and while one was salivating at the prime selection of tequilas at display in the back of El Sol’s bar, only sangria and rum was served. Sacre bleu!With DZ Deathrays (fresh off from an immensely successful Australian tour with Violent Soho), surf-inspired Guantanamo Baywatch, Peter Bibby, Alex Lahey, Verge Collection, Big White, Wild Honey, James Crooks, Tees, Pist Idiots, Baxter, Wash, Amyl And The Sniffers, Heads Of Charm, Red Wine Roses, The Cloacas, The Moving Stills, MVRKS, Mini Skirt, Uplifting Bell Ends and Stay At Home Mum this year’s incarnation of the festival lineup was not only eclectic, but even if you’re unaware of the protagonists, the names alone made you want to check them out.
For the most part, the bands gracing the main stage played fast paced, condensed sets, the lion’s share with an electric combination of lo-fi riffs coupled with energetic, offbeat stage presence, which did not fail to elicit boisterous and at time reckless responses from the willing, sold-out crowd.Inside Space 44, in a more intimate environment bands like Wild Honey channeled their alchemySounds of the Suburbs is a unique festival that has not merely found but created its very own and unique niche. Having progressively gotten bigger and better with each year, one would not be surprised if it would evolve to a mainstream fest.
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