The clouds are finally beginning to clear up over Sydney’s nightlife, and as the ground thaws and we head closer toward summer and festival season, the timing couldn’t be better. The announcement that our lockout laws have been reviewed, with new rules permitting some Sydney live music venues to return to its natural, lockout-free habitat is a huge win for those who have been campaigning and protesting since they were first implemented in 2014. The ruling was formally announced last week, and it couldn’t have been better celebrated than by the multi-venue weekend event Volumes, which took over Oxford Art Factory and Cliff Dive on Friday, August 26, adding Brighton Up Bar and the Burdekin to the bill throughout the 27th too. The whole weekend had a special feel to it, whether it was because of the new ruling, because it’s nearly the end of winter, or perhaps just the general atmosphere of the event, which boasted a sublimely, well-curated lineup of on-the-pulse local talent.
We began in the small Gallery bar, where 30/70 kicked off our weekend.
Perth’s Koi Child came next, in the main room. Absolutely one of my favourite bands to watch live, it’s nothing short of a carnival on stage when it’s horns out all around, delivering raucous and jazzy hip-hop with finesse and funk. Their self titled album is certainly one of our favourite Australian releases this year, and they bring it to life with bright, infectious energy.
Charles Murdoch took the stage shortly after. I haven’t caught Murdoch live since last year, before the release of his beautiful debut album Point back in December. While his recorded sounds make for sublime headphone music, he takes it to a whole new level on stage.
Later on, I got to catch an act I’ve been wanting to see for some time: the hip-hop/R&B duo of Silentjay and Jace XL. The pair, of which both also work with the brilliant Hiatus Kaiyote, have released one of the smoothest mini-albums in recent memory with Sacrifice. The front room of Oxford Art Factory was absolutely packed, and although the room isn’t really the easiest live music venue sound and vision-wise, it nevertheless fit the music really well. They were followed by a newcomer who’s grabbed our attention, Christopher Port, and Alba who, as we recently found out, played a special part in the growth of local vinyl label Plastic World.
All Photos: Danielle Hansen / Howl & Echoes