On March 27, The Gov hosted the inaugural Tunguska Festival. The festival was made up of creatives who revel in atmospheric sounds and create psychedelic post-rock music. These bands sonic and ethereal sounds took audiences into another realm of niche tunes mostly unheard in mainstream music. This psychedelic musical style is resurrecting itself with such vibrancy, evident at Tunguska on Saturday, where bands showed a unique use of instruments, vocals and colourful background graphics while they played on stage.
Kicking off the night were The Unset, an alternative rock act who use loop pedals and guitar riffs as their specialty. Next up were Aura Form, creating enough visceral reactions to their songs that it felt like you were inside a John Wick film. Aura Forms songs and the red and blue graphics provided film noir vibes and were dark and eerie, especially when meditative sounds of birds chirping and trees whispered in the background of some tracks.
The Howling Fog lead vocals inspired memories and moods similar to that of Pearl Jam, with ambient and lingering instrumentals. Next were iiah, who created some apocalyptic tones in their tunes, and OKO. All bands enmeshed both psychedelic and post-rock undertones to get us ready for the night’s main act.
After a much anticipated wait, audiences lurked closer and closer to the stage, with tension in everyone’s movements. Our excited energies saturated The Gov as we collided with Adelaide-based whimsical Sons of Zoku. Every experience with Sons of Zoku is like a journey back to the musically unique and open-minded sounds of the 1960’s. Most of us souls weren’t at New York’s Woodstock Festival in 1969, but experiencing Sons of Zoku perform could be the closest you’ll get. The set, decorated with fairy lights around multi-instrumentalist Ica Quintela’s keyboard and the bands aesthetic taste, added to hippie tones of this free-spirited and talented band.
This beautifully composed psychedelic and unforgettable five piece band are made up of Ricardo Da Silva on vocals, guitar and drums, Quintela on woodwind, keys and percussion, Jordan Buck, Oscar Ellery and Eddie Hannemann. The band work well together, with intriguing instruments members incorporate into songs, like the sitar. Ica played her bells, rain sticks and maracas as well as a multitudinous amount of other hand instruments she pleasantly surprised us with during the set. The first song played by the band was Dead Poets, which was a spacey vibrant tune where the sitar and bells created a sense of being teleported onto a warm floating cloud. Portugese-born Da Silva’s droning and mystical vocals were the perfect piece to top off the band’s first song.
Next up was the 2020 track Luz and an acoustic of Yang Yin. Da Silva and Quintela enigmatically smiled as they invited the audience closer to the stage. Beyond Beyond was their last most kaleidoscopic song mixing tribal sounds with Da Silva’s simultaneously growling and calming vocals. The song was luscious and cleansing but it left you wanting more, evident when the crowd shouted “ENCORE! ENCORE!” as the stage was left in darkness.
Hopefully next year’s prospective Tunguska Festival brings in more versatile crowds from around SA and includes more bands with female members. In saying that, this festival was enjoyable and it was satisfying to hear well-played and composed psychedelic music from extremely dedicated and talented bands representing Adelaide’s alternative music scene.
Live Review By Zara Zampaglione