Vintage Vibes @ Tomich Wines, Adelaide Hills SA 1/4/2023

It was an absolute mixed bag both musically and among the punters for Day 1 of the Vintage Vibes Festival – the first of its kind at Tomich Wines in the Adelaide Hills. Paisley maxi dresses and felt hats as the standard ‘wine farm’ attire were in abundance, along with a variety of age groups and music fans making the trip to the cold Adelaide Hills (and boy did it get cold) to see a quality line up of artists. Tash Sultana headlining in one of her first shows on home soil in almost four years was the draw card for me, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t prepared to endure an entire day out in the elements to see her, however I found some pleasant surprises in the stand outs of the day such as veteran Disco King Leo Sayer and internationally acclaimed indie rockers The Temper Trap.

Wine farm music festivals have been popping up much more frequently since the pandemic has eased, and it seems that institutions such as Day on The Green have been getting it right all along. What better way to bring people to the regional area than a jam packed day of bands, food trucks and local wine and beer. Luckily for me, I am well versed in these events so came equipped with warm clothes and a fold out chair which I highly recommend for anyone who hasn’t yet gone to one yet. Seating, especially near the stage is close to non-existent and these places tend to get muddy so best to go for comfort and practicality with everything especially footwear.I came in and set up camp for the day next to the stage and one of the big screens for optimal viewing, just in time for local boys West Thebarton who put an impressive amount of happy energy into their set. Unfortunately, the sound was consistently cutting out for the band members and these problems would continue throughout the day which really put a damper on things.

Donny Benet’s set luckily went off without a hitch- the groovy sounds of his particularly funky music getting the crowd bopping and singing to tracks such as Mr Experience and Second Dinner and I even spotted some fans in the audience wearing Donny Benet wigs for the occasion, proving that this artist has definitely gained himself a niche following and his brand is quite charming and unique. Leo Sayer entered the stage and was having none of the dodgy sound issues for his set as he very humorously engaged with the audience and went around checking everything and instructing the sound people with very specific technical jargon- even apologising to everyone at one point for the hold up, but he wasn’t going to perform without the sound at its best. He stated he was playing with a brand new band for the first time and wanted to get it right, while his two back-up singers were Adelaide locals. At 75, Leo Sayer delivered a flawless performance with perfect vocals and amped up the crowd with his boundless energy stating, You Can Rock Until You Drop. Of course all the hits were played such as Thunder In My Heart, I Can’t Stop Loving You and crowd favourite You Make Me Feel Like Dancing to which everyone did. It was such a fun happy set and really brought up the mood and blew me away with the quality of music being performed.

After a traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ performance, Hermitude went off to a very pumped crowd which unfortunately I missed due to waiting over half an hour for a coffee – but they sounded great from where I was standing next to the most disorganised vendor on the planet, and everyone that wasn’t waiting for coffee seemed to be having a really good time. Thankfully, I was well caffeinated and back at base camp in time for The Temper Trap because they were my favourite for the day. Even with the sound issues still being a bother, these guys were incredible and still have that magic from their hay day. They played new track Sun Gazer – a track so new they forgot how it starts for a moment, but they can absolutely be forgiven for that due to the fact that we finally have new music from these guys and I am ready and waiting for it all, including more live shows. As expected, they finished with chart smashing hit Sweet Disposition after an ethereal and intense set which at times seemed like a great big jam for these guys, lead singer Dougy Mandagi even getting the bongos wheeled out for instrumental track Drum Song.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard arrived on stage just after sunset and got the party really started, throwing themselves around onstage with their various instruments and even having to stop for a moment to tell the crowd to tone the mosh pit down and keep everyone safe. Finally, Tash Sultana finished the night with an unreal performance which given the amount of instruments Tash switches between, was highly organised and well planned. The whole thing was seamless and with the stage set up like a personal home studio with salt lamps, neon flamingo and rainbow lights and lucky cats, it was as if Tash was inviting us all to that sacred space where Tash makes music happen. Giving us all the hits from Tash’s debut album such as title track Notion and Synergy the songs melded into each other through a captivating show of sound and visuals. Tash brought the band on stage and continued to amaze with versatility (playing the trumpet, sax, piccolo, and a whole lot of percussion instruments I can’t name on top of Tash’s four guitars and bass) begging the question that still remains- is there an instrument Tash doesn’t play? Let’s not forget that incredible voice that sounded richer and more powerful than ever. We got to hear new track James Dean, a lighter and breezier track than anything done before, finishing the night with hit song Jungle leaving everyone elated and satisfied.

There were some noticeable teething issues at the event such as the sound issues, lack of adequate food vendors (almost everyone was sold out of food by dinner time which isn’t great when you’re not allowed to bring in anything from outside the festival grounds) and parking costing up to $50 for the day was something I’ve never encountered at a regional event. However, the line-up was a good mix of artists, some I newly discovered and others I fell in love with again, and the atmosphere was positive. The grounds were adequately equipped with bathroom and first aid facilities and it was a good spot for such an event. If you are well prepared for a day outside with unpredictable weather conditions and can manage to sneak in some snacks, it’s an enjoyable little day in the hills with a great line up of live acts. BYO Vibes.

Live Review By Bec Scheucher

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