Presented by curators Mat Schulz and David Sefton
Reviewed 26 February 2016
Unreal. Unique. Under-appreciated? Unsound Adelaide is back for its fourth year of melting hearts and eardrums, bringing together some of the world’s biggest names in experimental club music.
TraLaLa Blip opened up tonight’s celebration of all that is mind-blowing and bassy. To a rather sparsely populated Thebarton Theatre they delivered a sweet yet heavy brand of electro. Everyone in the small crowd seemed to vibe off of the five-piece’s playful energy.
Following with immensity and thunder was SUMS (the duo of Kangding Ray and Barry Burns), accompanied by contra-bassist Robert Lucaciu and “drumming wizard” Merlin Ettore. After getting jubilant with Tralala Blip, these guys reminded us of the harshness, and terrible beauty, of the world. Their grand soundscapes conjured up images similar to those amazing snowy shots in The Revenant.
To replace Alessandro Cortini is no small ask, but UK’s Babyfather definitely filled the proverbial boots. This chokingly smoke-filled act was emotionally charged and anarchic, with long and overwhelming segments of incredible bass and noise accompanied only by the lyrics: “Don’t panic”. While this got old after a few minutes, it blew the socks off everyone in the crowd, drowning them in sound.
Jlin’s bouncing, dark and jittery dance music really resonated with the atmosphere of the evening. With the astounding, glitchy art of Florence To behind her and the hair-whipping and belly dancing of Avril Stormy Unger in front of her, Jlin’s set became an almost spiritual experience. Jlin was obviously having a great time on stage as well, and her musical performance was improved all the more for it.
Kode9’s time on the stage was interesting, to say the very least. With hypnotic, inhuman beats, he controlled the entire room. While he laid down his stripped back dub step we were taken through a completely lifeless, but fascinating, video game word; The Nøtel.
The first night of Unsound Adelaide 2016 finished with an absolutely banging set from the Chicago underground’s own RP Boo. Within minutes of him opening his set, simply and without much more fanfare than a brief cartoon sound-grab, almost everyone left in the hall was dancing in a beautiful sweaty rave. RP Boo knows how to get the party started, even if everyone’s already worn-out and footsore from all the other amazing acts throughout the night.
Unsound is a true treasure and should absolutely be a point of pride for the Adelaide music community. To have so many unbelievable international acts come and display their talent during our fantastic festival season… well, it gets you a bit teary-eyed, doesn’t it? Of course, we’ve also got a lot of amazing home-grown talent to still get thrown in the mix down the line… but right now, Unsound still offers one of the best musical line-ups in Australia!
Reviewed by James Rudd
Venue: Thebarton Theatre, 112 Henley Beach Road, Torrensville
Season: 26-27 Feb
Duration: 6 hours each night
Bookings: Book through the Adelaide Festival online or through BASS online, phone 131 246 (booking fees apply)