The sun yawned a sunbeam, and calmly ascended
And lo, by the riverbank, many-folk tended
To stages and banners and speakers and cables
and ice-buckets, wristbands and tickets and tables
A party descending on this auditorium
To transform it into a sonic emporium
An event so iconic and keenly awaited,
its legendary stature cannot be debated.
Twenty fine Perth bands – a band for each year
Of ‘Pines (and one for good luck) and look here – The familiar vista: baristas and beer
and picnic rugs, ponchos, conifers, cheer
Martin was there with his Belt fastened tightly
His ears pricked to hear the first acts, and with spritely
demeanour and keener-than-mustard awareness
Observed the day’s early hours’ blossoming fairness
TUSK cut the ribbon, and planted the flag
Incanted groove-chantings implanted in bags
of Ye Olde pixie dust – plenty of funnings,
though sometimes the shanties are, granted, quite “Bunnings,”
And vibes more fragmented than first they set sail
these pirates, still, boast a most grinworthy wail
Now, what’s not to love about Junkies? A bit.
What ever that is, though, this trio’s not it,
The Love Junkies roared into thick post-grunge zeal,
Smooth and yet rough, with a classic appeal
A group still requiring an edge of uniqueness,
They nonetheless conquer with venom and sleekness.
Out of the woods, with goodly intentions
come some BIG OLD BEARS to command our attentions.
David Craft growls in his thick baritone,
Natalie joins with a pitch higher-flown
The set is mature, free from gimmicks and guff,
Genuine, masterful, deep rootsy stuff.
Then two pretty ladies, in delicate frocks
Appeared on the stage, but these ladies had… shocks
yet in store for the crowd who did pine at their beauty:
FROZEN OCEAN ensured things would shortly get fruity
Loud, vicious, violent, erratic and chipper,
These cross-dressing punks blazed their way through a ripper.
Then out of the dark and most dangerous distance,
came SUFFER to offer the pain with persistence
and pace – they race through a world of brutality,
short songs, a short set – their aural frugality
appeals to their no-nonsense hardcore ideals
their set sounded much like a chinese burn feels.
If SUFFER’s a burn then RUNNER’s cool water,
they build their soundcastles with dulcet soundmortar – towering high into soft, gleaming stratus,
their post-rock-come-chamber-pop borne of true artists.
With vocal refinement and focus and time,
who knows the great heights to which Runner will climb?
HANG ON ST CHRISTOPHER mystified listeners,
Their minimal tunescapes are bona fide glisteners,
Lush with rich layers of chord-swells and brass,
And Sean O’Neill’s croon just as brittle as glass
At times the slow-burners can barely hang on – Still, each of the songs in its unique way shone.
Then all of a sunder, BENEDICT MOLETA
Arrives with the stealth and the grace of a cheetah,
And with him a band of Perth veteran stock,
(Harry Kneen, Lily Sumich rhythmically rock)
For vivid songwriting, Moleta’s dependable
and against feedback troubles, his efforts commendable.
SONPSILO CIRCUS appeared in a puff,
Their sound – so it seems – growing lately more gruff
since first they began as a crisp psych-rock fops,
they now perhaps privilege noise over chops.
Though largely the sound remains much as it started,
I wonder what lies in their future uncharted.
Soon, the confounding, astounding, unreal
menacing organization of steel
called DROWNING HORSE grinds to life on the track
Painting with sound all in hues just of black
The heaviest band perhaps ever to ‘Pines it,
one asks “what is heaviness?” This band defines it.
They say that it’s darkest just before dawn
and SMRTS brought the sunrise, warm riffs to adorn
all the airwaves, with eighteen guitar strings to pluck
two drum kits behind, each heartily struck
Altogether a rusty robotic explosion
Of jubilant melodies shot into motion.
THE LEAP YEAR came ‘round now, and leapt into action
A twelve-years-too-late brooding alt-rock infraction
It’s not that they can’t play, or channel bad stuff
But they’re simply as rousing as old navel-fluff,
Confucius he say: ne’er a trombone line soaring
Did rescue a song fundamentally boring.
Then – in the cool and crepuscular light,
came APRICOT RAIL here to usher the night,
With harp-like guitar trills, restrained and subdued
they glided through miles all of pigments soft-hued
Euphonious woodwind and new songs to boot,
The ‘Rail deserve all of their shining repute.
From pensive to party, the night quickly sped
with those SUNSHINE BROTHERS’ bright spirit to spread
Tickling the dance-bones of patrons all ‘round,
Their grooves here enhanced with a treated dub sound
Not found on recordings: lamentably so,
With lashings of echo, these vibes truly glow.
Then BOYS BOYS BOYS carry on all of that zeal,
Their unashamed sucrose-pop laden with squeals
Dense synth, guitar and synchronized dances,
There’s a juvenile essence, which no doubt enhances
the mood as the audience clambers on stage
to groove to a Le Tigre cover with rage
To lovers of indie pop’s further elation,
Up next was no other than recent sensation
SAN CISCO, who’ve grown to a slick, fine-tuned beast
And if it’s not your scene, you must grant at least
That the dudes transmit every last note with composure
Carefree pop tunes in a studied enclosure.
What could we say that we would not be more gripping
Than THE GHOST HOTEL? As we sat there sipping
our Coopers we found ourselves dulled, comatose,
Their cardboard pop-rock as it blandly arose
Disappointing! For some of their recent recordings
Have carried great promise – but this, unrewarding.
Purveyors of frontier blues, KILL DEVIL HILLS
Stormed in with beards blazing to tender their thrills
It’s tough, gruff and honest, heavy and lilting,
Rowdy guitars, over which comes the wilting
melodic laments of A. Archer’s viol,
it’s thinking man’s, drinking man’s, grubby rock/roll
Far cleaner, more ironed, but no less sincere
comes five-piece SPLIT SECONDS to beckon our ears
The songs of Sean Pollard entirely well crafted
Though often the playing that’s thereupon grafted
Is hardly intriguing, and could be more daring
Still, a fun Supergrass tune left nobody caring
And hark! The end nears, but not before lashings
of angular, hard indie rock from the dashing
and deft lads that this SUGAR ARMY contains,
with razor-sharp riffs, and fragile refrains
Their sound’s dated slightly, but still, is a surge
of dynamic rock, where light and dark merge.
The moon above smiling, the cool night air crisp,
The last ling’ring frequencies rose in a wisp
And silence returned to the Somerville boughs,
Sound swapped for memories of mighty carouse
All thanks to the dream of one radio station – RTR, local heroes – our roots, our foundation
Bringing vibrations, elation, narration
and sonic sensations to all, their vocation
With much exaltation, in final summation,
We all raise our beers our booze & our wine,
and with excitation for our estimation
of many more years of RTRs In The Pines.