Sweltering summer heat didn’t deter crowds from queuing around the corner of the Lion Arts Factory for the sold out ‘Santa Clause is Comin’ to TOWNS’ mini Christmas festival on December 20. Lion Arts was set up with clothing stalls, merch and silly season decorations for ecstatic fans, as they filtered through the venue getting pumped up for a whole lot of fun and talented local acts. We were in for a treat from the start when each audience member was given a ticket to be in with the chance to win a scooter! In matching striped outfits, the first support act, Mum Friends, performed engaging and original songs like Transmission Party and Rails, as well as a cover of The Veronicas 4ever. Mum Friends encouraged the youthful crowd and radiated enthusiasm and energy.
Next up were bands Stacy Says and Glowing. Stacy Says were a chilled three-piece band who sang a self-reflective and thoughtful song about “learning how to say no for yourself.” After performing this, one member said “If anyone has a name for that song, let us know.” Including the audience in discussions only made the band more relatable and encouraged us to dance along to their tunes. Then, Glowing walked on stage wearing Christmas hats and graced us with some of their punk rock tunes, even starting some sweaty mosh pits. The venue was heating up as the final support act Pinkish Blu performed alternative and indie songs. TOWNS drummer Dan even supportively glided on stage, sneakily wiping the sweat off band member Seb’s head.
After a quick break, the anticipating crowd cheered on TOWNS as they jumped onto stage, strolling past the giant Christmas Tree and inflatable decorations spread around the sound equipment. In true TOWNS tradition, the guys played so hard and uninhibited that Dan knocked his cymbals off his drum kit. In fitting Christmas spirit, Dan sported his new fire red hairdo and Aston wore a Santa outfit. Classic joker Dan even sang and drummed out a quick tune about how “Christmas gear makes me sweat!” with comedic, reckless abandonment. Always making sure the crowd is enjoying themselves, theatrics and funny conversations with us is part of the TOWNS experience. Aston and Dan performed their set amidst a series of trippy and colourful slides on a projector screen. Various images of them photoshopped onto a Christmas sled riding around landmarks of Adelaide and around the world added to the journey as we moshed and bopped to good tunes and vibes.
TOWNS have swiftly come a long way this year, with their most recent single Safe To Stay, being played on Triple J. Safe To Stay had fans singing along and letting loose as they danced under the rain of the water guns coming from the security guards in the front row. The bands other popular songs, Sun and the 2018 single I Don’t Mind were also performed as the boys smiled and jammed with us the whole time. Front man Aston eloquently introduced and dedicated the next song to someone special; “Emily, this one’s for you, the beautiful mother of my child.” These gentle and loveable larrikins play every set with such genuine heart and gratitude, and this most recent gig was no exception. Fittingly written on their ‘SOLD OUT’ poster, the gig was purely and perfectly ‘two best friends, one Christmas show’.
Clearly, festive fun was the running theme of the night as Aston excitedly shouted, “I hope you like Christmas songs!” before the guys jumped straight into a Christmas sing-a-long melody, including traditional hits like Jingle bells. The crowd went hilariously wild, fitting right in with the TOWNS vibe. As the boys wholesomely shouted, “Thank you guys!”, they began their last song, a cover of Oasis’ Champagne Supernova, as all the support acts ran onto stage in the final celebration. Dan threw a bunch of drum sticks into the crowd and everyone reached out for a keepsake. We were so comfortable and involved with TOWNS, it felt like we were farewelling friends by the end of the gig. Small crowds even went up to the stage to chat with Dan and Aston later, even leading security guards to soak the leftover fans with their giant water guns to get everyone out.
These five Adelaide bands exuded such epic musical quality. Happiness, inclusivity and kindness from these musicians radiated onto the impressionable crowd and made for a wonderful experience filled with talented indie rock music. Proud and satisfied, the TOWNS Christmas extravaganza was the epitome of a thriving and exciting taste of local Australian music.
Live Review By Zara Zampaglione