If you haven’t heard of Adelaide’s Vision Festival—you’re forgiven; but you missed out big time because it came and went with an array of progressive, experimental and post-rock influenced music. Organised by Jonty Czuchwicki from Cobra and partnered by TEO Magazine, YEWTH and ARMI (Australian Rock & Metal Institute), the day provided festival-goers with eight incredible bands—headlined by Sydney’s Three Wise Monkeys and Melbourne’s Kettlespider. The festival also featured Adelaide bands: Overview Effect, For Millennia, Cobra, iiah and CYNYXYTY. As well as one more out-of-towner: Fierce Mild.
The doors opened at 3.00pm and CYNYXYTY broke the silence first. People trickled in as CYNYXYTY’s own brand of rock seeped from the stage: a fusion of jazzy drums, psychedelic guitars, and vocals that melded with the music. Then they brought out a saxophone and that just stole the show. Following closely behind were iiah, hypnotising the crowd with their vocals and emotionally fuelled breakdowns. Texture of sound is crucial and guitarist, Nick Rivett, used a violin bow on his guitar strings to create hauntingly beautiful melodies.
The first interstate band to claim the stage was Fierce Mild—a trio hailing from Melbourne—and to put it simply, they’re compelling. Compelling in the way they blend psychedelic elements with alt-rock as well as how absorbed they were by their music. They top it off with waves of intensity that wash over you and directly complement their band name. Vision Festival then took it one step further into the land of prog rock when Cobra stepped up. With a heavy undertone, these guys were unpredictable; you couldn’t tell when they were about to change tempo or melodies, they just did it. It was groovy, it was tight, and every instrument meshed their melodies to contribute to the progressive weave.
With people drifting in and out between bands, the atmosphere remained relaxed and expectant of good things to come. And it was a comfortable crowd that welcomed Kettlespider to Adelaide. Totally instrumental, the five-piece were perfectly in sync and they let the music flow like the beer. Complex melodies backed by precision drumming proved their act needed no vocalist. Taking a turn for the heavier side was For Millennia, and a powerful voice was the feature here, backed by dark melodic guitars and techno sounding keys. Most impressive was the drummer’s primal growls, contrasting so well with the clean vocals and adding another dynamic to their set.
As the daylight faded, so did the stage lights, and a hush settled as Overview Effect quietly set out their pedals—and there were a lot. With the aid of a projector showing abstract clips like ink swirling through water and a moth flying into a web, the band were eerily hypnotising as they played. Drawn out melodies washed over swaying bodies as the vocalist’s ethereal voice raised goose bumps. And she was electric on stage, shrouded by darkness. To say she danced wouldn’t be quite right, but she moved with the music, emphasising beats and riffs.
Three Wise Monkeys were greatly anticipated as the headliners of Vision Festival, and rightly so. The skill they showed with guitar, bass and drums was unfathomable. You could go as far as to say they were virtuosos. Their music was multifaceted both as a whole and individually, you could never be bored listening to these musicians. Three Wise Monkeys had stand out bass lines, swift guitar riffs and drumming that was impressively dynamic. And they had the crowd chanting for one more as their set drew to a close.
Of the eight bands that played, all managed to shine and show off their insanely creative minds. Sure, progressive rock was in its hay day in the ’70s, and post-rock somewhere around the ’90s and Noughties but you needn’t look any further than present day; because Vision Festival has unearthed bands that have taken inspiration from what the greats created, and spun it into their own fusion of modern prog and post-rock. The music world needs more independent festivals to show off local musicians because, as was witnessed that night, Australia is abundant with talent.
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Photos: Ebony Story