The Southside got hit by a wave of hipster kids in super tight jeans with each hairstyle more outrageous than the last on Friday night. The reason for the migration south was a stellar local lineup taking over The Espy as part of Spray ‘n’ Wipe.
A few quick glances at the set times for the evening made it clear that one of the major acts for the night was no longer set to perform, but why? According to a few small posters placed around the venue, Oscar + Martin were no longer performing due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
Rumour has it the duo were in Bali unaware that they were meant to be making love to our ears with their soulful, experimental pop sound.
Once the disappointment passed the next step was to decide which of the three stages to check out first. Passing through the Front Bar on the way to the Gershwin Room the crowd was getting warmed up on the d-floor to the indie pop stylings of The Corsairs.
The Gershwin Room seemed to be the calm before the storm as Melbourne trio I’lls took to the stage. The electronic pop driven by a synth, a drum machine and choppy guitar riffs were met with the smooth vocals of frontman Simon Lam.
The crowd was mesmerised by the beautiful beats and dynamic harmonies which managed to fill the room beyond what most would imagine from a three piece missing a drummer.
Next up in the Gershwin Room were Sydney duo Toucan, who got the crowd out of their post-I’lls daze with their upbeat indie pop. Frontwoman Jess got everyone on their feet with her powerhouse vocals and energetic stage presence.
Wanting to catch some of much-talked about Drunk Mums, it was up to the Mezzanine, which had transformed into one massive dark sweaty dance party. At points in the set it wouldn’t so much be described as dancing, but more competing to see who could throw themselves on top of the most people and crowd surf despite the fact that there was no elevated surface in sight.
When single ‘Rubbing Your Gums’ kicked into full gear, so did the crowd, making you feel as though you were at some raging 70s house party.
The rock ‘n’ roll vibes were even more amped up as Brisbane boys Dune Rats made their way on to the stage in the Front Bar. As one of the last bands to play the crowd was pretty loose by this stage and fully embraced the garage surf rock sound that filled the room.
There were two kids who seemed to be particularly big fans jumping on stage and attempting to share the microphone with guitarist/vocalist Danny Beusa on multiple occasions. They weren’t the only ones though, throughout the set many stage invaders punctuated tracks like ‘Fuck It’ and ‘Wooo!’ by crowd surfing and moshing like it was nobody’s business.
The resident DJ for the evening, Bossman, kept the crowd under control with some party tunes while the audience waited for headliners Northeast Party House to bring more chaos. Fans had come ready for the band’s last 2012 hometown show with face paint and glitter, and from the get-go there was not a second of stillness in the crowd.
It may have been a strategic move to open the set with the somewhat mellow ‘Horror Hud’ in an attempt to keep the crowd under wraps for at least a few minutes, but they were relentless in their search for a cranking dance floor.
As they began to play their newest single ‘Stand Stall’ the crowd kicked it up a notch, and carried on the next-level vibes as Northeast Party House followed on with favourites ‘Empires’, ‘Dusk’ and ‘Pascal Cavalier’.
As always the boys not only brought the party vibes but a super tight sound, despite some recent line up changes. Adding a new dimension to their live show were the backing vocals of guitarist Mitch Ansell, which worked in complete harmony with the strength of frontman Zach Hamilton-Reeves’ vocals.
Despite a warning at the beginning of the set by Hamilton-Reeves about The Espy not being too keen on stage invasions, the animalistic howls of ‘Embezzler’ seemed to bring out these same instincts in the crowd who could not resist escaping the wild dance floor to have a boogie with the band on stage.
Ending the set with the heavy beats of a new song, tentatively titled ‘Purple Drank’, Northeast Party House left the crowd in a frenzy and ready for more as Alison Wonderland took on the hard task of bringing this epic night to an end.
With an eclectic mix of crowd pleasers from the 90s classic, Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’, to some hectic electro bangerz, Alison Wonderland kept the sweaty dance party going for only a short but ever so sweet set.
As the lights started to brighten during ‘Killing in the Name Of’ , what was left of the crowd wiped away their sweat, tried to get their shit together and walked (or stumbled in some cases) out into the wee hours of the morning with smiles on their faces and undoubtedly some incredibly sore feet.
Until next year Spray ‘n’ Wipe, it was a blast!
– Stef Militadou