Five Things We Learnt At Volumes 2016
Last weekend we were lucky enough to attend Volumes, a multi-venue festival in the heart of Sydney which featured performances by acts such as Black Vanilla, Dro Carey, Rainbow Chan, Fishing, Mall Grab, Nicholas Allbrook and many more. With the Purple Sneakers tradition in mind, we decided to share with you five things we learnt over the two epic days!
1. Xanga is one hell of a live performer.
Just moments into his first track, it was clear Xanga had already created some new fans (myself included) with his very entertaining show. Dressed in a tribal outfit which included a mask and equipped with bongo drums, maracas and a shitload of cowbell, he enthusiastically performed tracks such as ‘Boom, Boom, Boom’ and ‘Gringo Funky’ in the well suited Cliff Dive.
With the peculiar and colourful visuals also being projected on the large screen directly behind him, this set was truly unique and felt like one of those performances we got to witness “before they got big”.
The extensive range of instruments, the dress theme, the visuals – Xanga had everything!
2. Moving between venues throughout the festival was a lot of fun and kept it interesting.
Unfortunately we don’t get the opportunity to do this much, thanks to the introduction of the lock out laws. However, due to the early start time each day at Volumes, we could change venues and explore a number of different spaces, which created a new experience each time.
3. The Cliff Dive is a great venue for live performances.
Although The Cliff Dive mostly hosts DJs, I thought it operated really well as a live music venue over the weekend. Obviously it wouldn’t have the capability to withstand full live bands, but when you’ve got acts with reasonably basic setups like Xanga & Donny Benet, it’s almost perfect!
4. Rainbow Chan has developed a massive stage presence.
The biggest surprise of the festival for me was easily Rainbow Chan. The last time I saw her perform was about two years ago but a lot has changed since then. Her Manager Vichara Edirisinghe (Astral People) recently spoke about the time he offered to work with her. “5 years ago I booked this young, upcoming artist by the name of Rainbow Chan to play a show for us. This ‘shy’ girl walked into soundcheck with a suitcase full of instruments by herself, played the opening slot to a crowd of about 4 people and impressed me so much that the next day I asked her if I could be involved in her career”.
If there was a most improved award in the Australian music industry, I have no doubt Rainbow Chan would be nominated at the very least. Her set at Volumes was something I hadn’t seen before from the musician. With a full band consisting of Corin & Moon Holiday and a tonne of energy from Bow (which reminded me a little of Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon), it was a completely different and more intense show to what everyone was previously used to.
5. The Volumes crew have a strong ethos on booking acts who are on the verge of becoming the next big thing.
One of the special parts about Volumes is that it feels a bit like a music conference. You can walk into a room with no expectations or very little idea of what you’re about to see and next minute, be completely blown away by an incredible live performance. This is exactly what happened when I witnessed Habits in the darkly lit main room of the Burdekin, which was a compatible setting for such an electrifying and at times, haunting set.
When an event like Volumes comes along, it makes you realise how amazing some of our venues and musicians are. Even though the laws can be annoying, I still have a lot of love for the daylife/nightlife in this beautiful city.
See you next year!
Words by Tony Kingston