There’s a clearing near the highway and the quiet river flow

Where the conifers prepare themselves each year

For a day and night of music, and the visitors who go

for to drink the two-stage programme with their ears.


I arrive and (feeling spritely) take position near the speakers,

The air is warm, the welcome’s even warmer 

A man gives me a chupa chup and trots off in his sneakers

Then Caitlin introduces the performers —


JEFF'S DEAD, the knell is sounding as five fellers crest the stage,

Jeff Strong the zombie skipper at the fore.

Their twisted country musings, from the witty to the sage 

are celestial with synth as verses soar


Now several knells sound swiftly - or BELLS RAPIDS in the piney 

auditorium, riffs cracking through the air

Resounding in the open, Bellsy’s songs sound extra shiny

Perfect harmonies, and sizzle, fuzz and snare


And hailing from the goldfields, golden song craft in addition,

now THE PICTURE GARDENS paint a pretty scene.

Interweaving blues, Indigenous rock, and pop traditions,

their set is brief but vital and serene.


Up from the horizon rise the SOLAR BARGE BIG BAND,

All masked - don't ask me who, got no idea.

But they seem to have a great time, all and sundry tools in hand

Doomy psych-jazz sonifying Ra's career


PHIL-WALLEY STACK then follows on, a legend of the West

In duo mode with bonus lead guitar;

His tales of life and culture mid the sunshine and the rest,

Evoking times and landscapes near and far


So CRAIG mate - what are HALLSWORTH? Well, at least a song or six

As the veteran comes out with strings all hissin,

A heavy brand of indie, with a somber tone for kicks

With lyrics that beseech a closer listen


If DOCTOPUS change up the mood, guitar stays at the core

(Thanks to Jeremy, who’s freshly - somehow - shaven)

Frustrations, celebrations wrought through punk that's weird and raw

But wet and cool like Mettam's pool. A haven! 


Then suddenly DREAM RIMMY are upon us like a rug,

all of fizzing purple modulating stars.

With washy hooks and citric zaps, motorikky chug

Understated vocals, thick guitars…


We're due now for some hardcore punk, infused with brutal metal

A vicious kind of captivating aura

This quartet thrashes, screeches, hurtles, blares and never settles

And quickens all our blood. For what? FÖRSTÖRA!


Less vicious, but still powerful - and brooding, darkly hued

now CHILDSAINT air their shoegaze-pop melodics

With lilting chords, intense crescendi, grungey tropes renewed

A raft of hazy moods made episodic 


And returning like a moonflower, well-loved APRICOT RAIL

A sweet mosaic of beats and chiming tones;

Slow-burning woodwind power, tunes that whisper, build and wail 

They’re a band Perth must be proud to call its own.


A swarming crowd pack in, to witness INSTITUT POLAIRE

A staple of Perth’s noughties indie antics 

Orchestral, dense, anthemic songs imbued with love and care

Who knew that pop could sound so damn gigantic?



JAZZ GROUP are soon colliding in the dark

With timeless grooves (one might even suppose: antediluvian),

We ride upon their complex, buoyant arc 


Now RAG ’N’ BONE are not alone in bringing hefty rock 

to Somerville this clement Autumn eve

But well-wrought songs and Keira’s lungs blow off abundant socks

As the fierce guitar lines bolt and duck and weave


POW! NEGRO, local heroes of the jazz-hop-rock persuasion

Keep our spirits high, adrenal glands a-pumping.

Rapper Nelson, horns and band, at their peak for the occasion; 

Lead lines howling, nimble drummer thumping.


If duo SODASTREAM decrease the pace and the intensity,

It’s in a way that’s warm and opportune

And though I’m biased (I jump up on violin), the density

Of sing-a-longers verifies the boon.


Lest we get too calm too quick, we’re blasted by a DEMON

of the HIDEOUS SUN variety, what’s more;

Its arms are four, its grinds and roars, the audience is teemin’

with hot sweat and grins and flailing limbs galore. 


Now if our weary brains were thinking TANGLED THOUGHTS OF LEAVING

a band that’s named as such dispels delusion.

We stay, with awe-struck gazes at the knotty layers heaving, 

They’re a stern but truly singular inclusion.


Then fellow heavy favourites - although from a different school,

It’s the loud and ever-lovable LOVE JUNKIES,

Pop melodies, distorted hooks and frantic beats unspool

They’re welcomed like bananas unto monkeys.


To send us home (if home means leaving), legends JEBEDIAH

Icons of a generation past. 

Classics like ’Harpoon’ hold up, like so much hills-hoist wire 

These snotty, poignant songs were built to last.


And as the crowd disperses and the faces grow more clear,

I see the eyes of twinkling cheer and thanks,

Not only for the wireless band that give us ‘Pines each year

But for the human gems among its ranks.


It’s forty years since RTR began, upon these grounds 

among these university lawns and halls

Forty years from strength to strength and endless varied sounds,

Of broadcasts, gigs and Radiothon phone calls


I say it every time, it holds, we truly owe a debt

(those of us who make or relish tunes)

To RTR and family, the blood and tears and sweat,

That’ve kept the dream alive so many moons.


On days like this we’re joined in ways antennas can’t enable,

Clinking drinks and mingling in the sun,

To dance, converse and share the breeze, a modern cultural fable

And so far, this year’s Pines - my favourite one. 

Lyndon Blue