Live Review: The Plot – Parramatta Park, Sydney (05.12.15)

With Western Sydney home to the vast majority of Sydney’s population, it made plenty of sense to hold a festival, whose line up was predominantly Australian, in the heartland and near geographical centre of Sydney. Nestled in the centre of Parramatta’s CBD, The Plot festival took place on a deliciously picturesque Saturday afternoon at Parramatta Park.

Overlooking old Government house, the little sister of Australia’s best regional touring festival, Groovin’ The Moo, was a very dance and hip hop centric line up, looking to showcase the best in up and coming acts, plus a couple fan favourites.

Over on the Narrative stage, 2015 breakthrough act Boo Seeka hit things off with their brand of alternative downbeat dance music. If Chet Faker, RÜFÜS and The Rapture had a baby, they’d have called it Boo Seeka. Playing a set inclusive of first single “Kingdom Leader”, “Deception Bay” and new track “Fool”, the local lads got things off to a stellar start.

Upon going for a stroll through the relatively small site, the first thing you noticed is the relaxed vibe of The Plot. While the weather definitely helped, the location, layout, and combination of boutique beers, food, craft and clothing really gave the day a real community vibe to it.

Central Coaster E^ST was up next on the Narrative stage and killed it doing her avant-pop/ R&B thing. Opening the set with first single “Old Age”, E^ST proceeded to crush her set with a sweet cover of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”, before rounding things out with current single “The Alley”. It was a juicy end to a juicy set.

Making my way over to the Atomic stage, UV Boi was dropping a rad remix of Banks’ “Beggin’ For The Thread” as I took the chance to sample the local ales and food offerings. As a bit of a beer snob, it was great to see the punters being offered some quality boutique beers and food, instead of your festival standard fast food and light beers.

Asta was next to get the crowd’s groovers and shakers attention with her easy dance tunes. Throwing it back her earliest releases in “Escape” and “My Hear Is On Fire”, she took lead on latest single “Dynamite”, ably replacing the absent Allday’s verses with her own sing-rap skills.

As a boutique festival, it meant there were boutique lines for everything, from food, to drinks, to toilets; which I’m sure every attendee was stoked about. Apart from possibly having a couple toilets down the back of the site and the occasional sound spill from the neighbouring Drop stage, The Plot pretty much nailed the site’s layout. Next up on the Atomic stage was Sydney locals The Griswolds, who were back on home soil after months overseas. Garnering the largest crowd of the day thus far, they closed out with favourites “Beware The Dog” and “Heart Of A Lion”.

The presence of security, cleaners and event staff, while inconspicuous, were clearly present. On the back of current events surrounding Stereosonic, it was great to see a mutual respect between event staff and attendees. Still over at the Atomic stage, Blue Mountains man Urthboy’s gamesmanship got the early evening off to a racing start. Dropping “We Get Around”, he was joined in stage by Joyride, and Bertie Blackman through out his set. Closing out with “Long Loud Hours” and his ode to Phillip Hughes on “Nambucca Boy”, the only disappointing thing to take from his set was the discovery that he was a Parramatta Eels supporter.

Making mad dashes between the Atomic and Narrative stages, I caught the best parts of both Tkay Maidza and NGAIIRE’s sets. Tkay had a large and happy crowd jumping along to “M.O.B” and “Switch Lanes”, while Ngaiire toned it down with her tracks “Novacaine” and “Once”. Both sets were outstanding and great entertainment.

As the day turned to night, Safia hit the Atomic stage and soon enough had people on shoulders as they went through “Counting Sheep”, next single “Make Them Wheels Roll” and a reworking of their appearance on Peking Duk’s “Take Me Over”.

The night was primed for a big performance and love in, and this came in the shape of Tuka. In the shadows of the trees and moonlight, Tuka and his band smashed through a heavily weighted Life, Death, Time, Eternal set, before a couple cheeky appearances from “Die A Happy Man”, Thundamentals’ track “Smiles Don’t Lie” and his recent Like A Version of “Big Jet Plane” made their way into the set. Tuka’s set was pure joy and an absolute pleasure to witness as the festival began drawing to a close.

Awarded headlining and closing duties, local legends Art vs. Science gave the crowd what they wanted, with a mad party set filled with current tracks and fan favourites. It was evident the fans were still coming to terms with their newer material, as older tracks (“AIM Fire”, “Parlez Vous Francais?”, “Magic Fountain”, “Flippers”, “Hollywood”) were the ones the crowd frothed on. Closing out on traditional last song “Hollywood”, Art vs. Science brought an end to what could definitely be described as a successful festival.

In the age of increased consumerism, where guests and customers know that they want more than a bang for their buck, The Plot well and truly hit the spot (rhyme intended).