Festival Review: The Plot – Parramatta Park, Sydney (19.11.16)

Returning once more to the future CBD of Sydney, The Plot made its presence felt in the Western Suburbs, as the punters got amongst it, and in the process managed to sell out the all-Australian, Parramatta based festival. Having attended last year, if I were a betting man I’d have put money on the festival not making a return in 2016 after what appeared to be a lacklustre turn out from the public. Luckily, the team at Cattleyard Promotions had faith, and put together one of the better line ups of up-and-coming acts you’ve seen in quite a while.

Walking through the gates to the ethereal sounds of Amy Shark and her track “Adore”, you sensed everything was in motion for a stellar day. The punters had turned up, Mother Nature was having a good day, and the vibes were high.

Dorsal FinsContinuing with the sea creature theme, I headed over to Dorsal Fins at the Future Sailors stage, where they were doing their best to spread the good times with a mix of old and new tunes, and a cheeky cover of Kate Ceberano’s “Pash”.

Deciding to settle in for the afternoon, I ventured over to sample some of the beverages on offer, whilst also making the smart decision to invest in a burger and chips for lunch. Whilst devouring the meal, The Belligerents and Bootleg Rascal kept everyone going with their respective mixes of psychedelia and dub.

Triple J unearthed alum Tired Lion, fresh off the back of supporting Violent Soho on their national tour, turned up the heat and delivered a raucous yet smooth set that was rounded out by break out single “I Don’t Think You Like Me”. Heading back over to the Duck Pond stage, we were greeted by Vera Blue, whom my mate had sworn had had a photo taken with him earlier in the day. Upon closer inspection of the photo, he’d managed to take a photo with a girl with long red hair, who evidently wasn’t the artist formerly known as Celia Pavey. Props to the girl for playing along with the whole thing though. Classic stitch up.

Vera Blue

Newly anointed queen of Triple J unearthed Tash Sultana took over the Future Sailors stage with her mad guitar work, drum pad theatrics, beat-boxing and solid use of the pan flute. These kids coming through at the moment are just bloody ridiculous with how well they manage to pull it all off. Sultana pulled probably the biggest crowd of the day. Dylan Joel did his best to keep it ‘fresh, fresh’ as the day turned to night, only to then close out his set with his reworking of the Toy Story/ Randy Newman classic “You’ve Got a Friend In Me”.

While her time management skills weren’t great (having had to cut her set one track short), Montaigne was fantastic as always, as she dabbled with a choice selection of tracks from her debut LP Glorious Heights and a throwback to “I’m a Fantastic Wreck”. Now, I could have left the festival at this point entirely satisfied with how my day had progressed. But with what proved to be the best three sets of the day still come to, you’d have been real stupid to head home at this point.

Montaigne

Clouded by some sound issues, Alex Lahey’s set commenced a little later than programmed, but definitely didn’t affect the mood in the crowd. A slight drizzle through out the set didn’t upset anyone, as the “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me” singer went about delivering one of the most fun sets of the day. Heading over to catch the enigmatic Confidence Man, I genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen. What was showcased was one of the most enjoyable and completely unexpected sets I’ve ever seen.

Frontwoman Janet Planet had the crowd under her charm as the four piece closed out with the 2016 local banger of the year “Boyfriend (Repeat)”. If you get the chance to see Confidence Man as they kick around over the next few months, definitely invest the time and coin.

The Bennies

Closing things out on the Future Sailors stage was loose cannons and party starters(enders) The Bennies. I’d never seen them before, but had put together a pretty solid idea of what they going to deliver. And they lived up to their erratic name, putting together a half hour set of frantic moshing and plenty of drug references.

While The Bennies set was pure brilliance and utter mayhem, as the day drew to a close, it was blemished by a couple moments of stupidity. Entering the second last song of the night, someone clambered onto the stage and decided to rush the stage. While I don’t condone dickheads climbing onto the stage at gigs or festivals, the bigger idiot was the security guard who decided it was a great idea to shoulder charge the punter off the stage and into the barrier down the front. With The Bennies concerned, the set was called early whilst first aid was performed on the man.

Whilst ending the festival on a bit of a downer, a massive pat on the back should be awarded to the organisers of The Plot. With the current climate of festivals within Australia asking for more niche lineups, the team at The Plot pretty much crushed the lineup and the day. If I were a betting man, I’d put a little bit on the return of The Plot in 2017.

Photos by Belinda Dipalo.