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TGTF Does ARIA Week 2012: triple j unearthed Showcase at Oxford Art Factory featuring The Rubens, YesYou and Asta – 27th November 2012

By on Tuesday, 4th December 2012 at 4:00 pm

I am well familiar with triple j: it seems every year in January, right when festival season is in full swing in Oz, the best indie bands from all over go through the Aussie radio station’s hallowed doors for sessions and interviews. I already kind of guessed their importance like Radio1, but I was told by many an ARIA Week punter that if a band wants to be a success and make it out of Australia, they must have triple j’s support. In October 2011, triple j launched a sister station, available only digitally, called triple j unearthed, and as you can probably guess from the name, they are all about finding the best new up and coming bands. My second night of bands in Sydney were three acts that have all received the triple j unearthed stamp of approval. The night was emceed by triple j breakfast hosts Tom (pictured below) and Alex (pictured at top).

The first act up was Hobart, Tasmania’s Asta, aka Year 12 singer Asta Binnie, accompanied onstage by bespectacled DJ/producer Kel. (Cue thoughts of Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid of La Roux.) There was no way you could ever miss the blonde Asta in the outfit she chose that night: a black top, a faux jewel belt and exceedingly bright gold lame hot pants, which starkly contrasted her super red lipstick. With the hot pants, my initial thought was, oh no, not another Florence and the Machine! Thankfully though, Binnie doesn’t shriek like Welch, and maybe Welch has gotten less bashful and more comfortable in her role as frontwoman after two albums, but Binnie exhibited no inhibitions at all while she sang. And she plays guitar! Take that, Flo.

She must have been picked up by triple j unearthed very recently, as she commented that this was her first ever Sydney gig. (Consider that if you are not from the city, it’s the equivalent of a small town British band playing in London, or a small town American band playing in New York City.) In honour of the momentous occasion, she dedicated the song ‘It Starts with You’ to the audience, explaining she never would have gotten anywhere without triple j unearthed or the fans who listen to her on the radio. The tunes that closed out her short set, ‘I Need Answers’ and ‘Is Anyone Out There?’, highlighted that despite the teen image she projects in her clothes, lyrically, she’s at least trying to delve into deeper subjects.

Absent so far from my ARIA Week experience was strobe lighting, which was to come in the form of YesYou’s set. They’re a synth pop production duo from Brisbane, and evidently, they already have a lot of followers. They garnered massive cheers came from a cover of SBTRKT’s ‘Wildfire’, which saw their unnamed female singer invoking the blue eyed soul from deep within. But the loudest applause came with final song ‘Frivolous Life’, which featured a surprise live vocal appearance by Marcus Azon of established Sydney tropical dance band Jinja Safari. From what I’ve read, this duo rarely does live appearances, so I felt very lucky indeed to have been present for one of their rare live performances.

I learned about the Art Factory’s stage curtain the hard way – by getting clocked in the head with it when the curtain was closed while the stage was set up for the headliners The Rubens from a New South Wales village called Menangle, who I really didn’t take to. (Seriously though, is there a need for a curtain for a 600-capacity venue with a medium-sized stage? It’s not like there is going to be a super sophisticated lighting rig back there.) When it was time for them to go on stage, the curtains parted and I thought the girls next to us were going to lose it. The Rubens have a laddish vibe to them, which I suppose makes perfect sense for a guitar rock band, but I’ve probably heard – and passed over – too many UK guitar bands for not being unique enough. (The next night, I saw another rock band at another venue that I thought was head and shoulders much better, so stay tuned…)

Set opener ‘Best We Got’ uses Oasis-styley “lalalas”; ‘My Gun’ made me think of Noel’s ‘If I Had a Gun’. Those of you who know me personally know I usually stick it out down the front for the entirety of a show, even if I’m not a massive fan of all the bands playing that night. But by then, the venue was completely rammed and it didn’t seem right for me to be so close when there were kids in attendance who absolutely adored these guys.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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