Cooly Beachfest | Live review and gallery | Queen Elizabeth Park, 18 March 2017

Bands see some pretty hectic things from their side of the press pit but the Pacific Ocean off Coolangatta beach has to be one of the best. And it appeared not a single muso broke a sweat as the divine sea breeze provided a natural and atmospheric wind machine throughout the sets at the inaugural, Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew sponsored Cooly Beachfest on the weekend.

The Vanns kicked off proceedings with a solid rock’n’roll set finishing with an INXS cover, their lead guitarist shredding on an instrument that seemed too tiny for his size.

Dorsal Fins packed the stage with nine band members. They shared a light and breezy sound with charismatic vocalists. They absolutely nailed a Kate Ceberano cover – Pash – that they’d done for a triple j Like a Version segment back in 2015. They finished their set with a massive shredding riff-off on multiple guitars while the vocalists chilled side of stage and watched.

Resplendent in a red two piece suit, Bec Sandridge was utterly entertaining with her interesting dance move dubbed the ‘pony prance’. Her voice is beguiling and had the crowd up dancing pretty quickly. She is a confident and commanding presence on stage and soldiered on through a broken string and guitar changeover. The Wollongong native even slayed the haters with her cover of John Farnham’s You’re the Voice before she left the stage to join the punters back in the crowd.

The vibe went super chill for the Beautiful Girls set. The laid-back reggae feel was welcome in the twilight even through sadly distorted sound quality. There was massive crowd dancing for this popular three piece.

With lightning building from the south visible above the stage, the Rubens rocked the evening to a close with a heavy bass entrance piece. Their front man is charismatic and despite admitted tiredness he brought the moves to the delight of the crowd. Their relatively long set allowed them to play almost all of their two albums including Hottest 100 2015 winner Hoops towards the end.

IMAGES (c) Nadia Achilles

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