Three of us were lucky enough to attend the second installment of 

Sunset Sounds

A festival boasting a wonderful array of international and Australian acts all in the period of two consecutive days.

Review by Rachael Melmeth
Photos by Kelsey Heinrichs.


Somehow, we had made it. There he was, the golden man, “thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you” he called out. Moby was a mere 5 meters away from us, and fifteen thousand crammed around us, raving and terribly perspiring people screaming back at him. I now stood front row to his left, beside a short angry woman glaring up at me with stink eye and a giant man who she had conned into standing in front of, whom I’m fairly certain had an erection. But how we got there, was a whole other tale…

We had entered the festival with the expectations of your typical “big huge festival” aka girls staring down girls, boys trying to over compensate against other boys. And so we walked in uncertainly, and were pleasantly surprised when no one battered an eyelash. It was like walking into a communal picnic, everyone was there to have a jolly good time and get deliciously smashed in the process. So we proceeded to watch our first act.

The Middle East was a blast from the past. It was like I’d entered a time machine and exited during a Woodstock act, due to their tight blue denim, kaftans, checkers and odd array of banjos and the like, they were an easy, breezy way to begin the festival. Easy on the ears (and eyes), pleasant to the ear (and touch – “what?” – look mate you’d go there too) they brought some chill in the heat.

Then, famous duo Datarock ran onto the stage followed by their slightly less famous band members, all donned in their symbolic red jumpsuits. How they managed to do that in our Australian heat, not to mention the hottest time of the day, was truly beyond my knowledge, I don't even want to know how much sweat was produced. The norway rockers brought the funk in more ways than Old Gregg could ever achieve, by playing crowd favourites "Fa Fa Fa" and "Computer Camp Love".

Afterwards, A young english lad by the name of Jamie T started playing to an already growing hectic and unduly intoxicated crowd as the sun had well and truely set and everyone was pretty much just waiting for him to play "If You've Got The Money" so they could quickly leave to buy another Red Bull and Vodka.

Nothing could excite a mosh full of lesbians, southern cross tattoo bearers and people so drunk they didn’t realise exactly where they were, more then Hilltop Hoods. Although their distinct Australian accent on songs about “don’t blame me I’m just a street kid”, “rising up against the odds” and “don’t blame me I’m just a street kid rising up against the odds” blurred into one, they sure knew how to bring out that inner wigga and provide an excellent beat for feeling like someone finally understands you.

So after we politely nodded our heads, pushed our way through pretending to look for a “lost friend”, and looked “avidly interested” in the current Aussie hip hop phenomenon, we bee-lined for the front because we all knew the real gem was up next. Grasping onto the gates with a mad look in our eyes the smoke machine stirred, the lights hit “epileptic fit” mode and a medium sized, pale bald man with sensible pants and comfortable shoes came out. Moby. And the madness began.

From the first guitar sting he plucked it sent the audience out into a literal trance. As though we had taken a series of musical pingas, Moby took fifteen thousand people on a mystical rave orgy and we danced like the crazy bastards we all were. Ever gentleman-like, Moby played most of his hits and sent us out with a bang and gently layed us back in our beds.

So off we trundled home, looking like rape victims, feeling like maniacs, in anticipation of the second day.

Day 2

Just as pleasantly relaxed as the day prior, except plus the sunburn, times the beers, divide the pinga funds and minus the dignity. We trotted via unicorn-hire to the main stage for the first act, The John Steel Singers.

I fell in love with this band the moment they donned horse masks and proceeded to dance as though they had just had a good sniff of Amyl for forty minutes. A band that will certainly put a smile on your face (“and your fanny!” – see Happy High Herbs) with their summer pop melodies. Feeling damn happy, we were convinced to stay by the whispering of the great “King Khan”.

Nothing could prepare me for what was to come. At first, I thought a middle aged raving Indigenous man in a Native American headdress and yellow nappy came with a distinct “beer belly” came on. When I realised those crowd screams were of delight and not horror, it came to me that this must be the notorious King Khan. Screaming into the microphone, jumping into the crowd (several minors experienced his acid sweat and were rushed to hospital), his band and one cheerleader bashed out rock ‘n’ roll/psychedelic soul/r&b/punk tunes. An excellent band for putting you in a “crazy soul sister from the 70s” mood

British indie rockers Editors were next and every girl (and boy) was charmed by the sound of Tom Smith. Playing a mix of new electronic songs from their new album and old classics and crowd pleases from The Back Room, Editors were the start of an awesome night that was yet to come

The Editors ended, and we heard the distant sound check of a set we had been anticipating. Although mostly darkened and quiet onstage, Grizzly Bear filled your heart with fondness and captivated your ears. They lure your in with their strumming and tapping and melodies and did devious things to your mind whilst sending out a band of gypsy’s to rob you of your worldly possessions. We left feeling like we’d had the best mind-fuck in the world.

But time quickly passed, and once everyone had gotten over the fact their wallets had been stolen everyone ran, danced and flew to the main stage.

By the time we got there it was already packed, and there was a low chant already starting… “Yeah Yeah Yeahs! Yeah Yeah Yeahs!”. The spiritual peer pressure was so intense we simply had to join in, as we secured our mosh positions. By then, I had heard the stories of Karen O’s outrageous antics. How once she was so insane she knocked herself out onstage. How she once danced offstage and reluctantly went to hospital. But as she stepped onto stage wearing a glowing mask-turban with a matching bodysuit, we knew she wouldn’t fail to deliver.

With the crowd screaming their lyrics back to her with as much intensity as she screamed to them, Karen O made the set by running a riot, deep-throating the microphone and allowing some lucky members of the front row to lick her. They played all their hits, sent giant eyeball balloons into the audience and generally stripped everyone of their decency. Not that anyone minded.

And so, after two days of (the expected) fake tans, terrible tattoos, hilarious drunkards and generally “appro(SLUT)priate” festival fashion; combined with the (pleasantly surprising) politeness, enjoyable freaks, and relaxed atmosphere, Sunset Sounds had concluded. 

Our minds, bodies and eardrums had well and truly taken a journey to musical revelry that left us wanting so much more.