With a portion of the Curtin Tav transplanted away from the usual location and a small beer garden set up, 2017’s Athena Music Festival at Curtin University made way for a nice setting to hold the yearly concert that always held a dedicated all-female line-up in an effort to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Containing a smaller set-up than before – taking place during a Wednesday arvo rather than in the evening like last year, it made way for a more kicked back, chill event. With the onset of the gig featuring mostly a small crowd of students huddling around the drinks caravan, it wasn’t until much later when Thelma Plum hit the stage that she managed to draw out the students from their shaded reprieve.
Kicking off with folkster Ruby May, she filled the air with rustic strums and soulful vocals – delighting the punters who arrived into Henderson caught to catch the gig. A local artist that more or less impressed everyone, it was a shame there wasn’t more people that could’ve seen her.
After a brief break with Slam Funk providing some delicious beats on the sets, Thelma Plum hit the stage with her backing band. Encouraging the crowd to leave the makeshift beer garden and come closer to the stage, the rest of the set featured a small crowd huddled around the stage, watching Plum belt out her voice.
Much of her set featured new music, so it made for a fresh appearance and in some ways a performance of not knowing what to expect. Feeling distinctly soulful with a new, pop edge, Plum belted out her vocals with ease, with the mood of her live music see-sawing between hints of lilting emotion and soaring, audible joy.
Things got intimate when the live band went off-stage and an electric guitar was handed to Plum, who then descended into introspective, moody sojourn, playing out all the feels on her butterscotch telecaster.
Smoothing things up with the bluesy vibes of a cover of Chet Faker’s Gold, the crowd clapped in unison to the beat. Her final song, Around Here, finished with Plum cheekily chanting “Fuck You” in the chorus and cheekily flipping the bird at the punters, who were more than happy to receive the gesture. Thanking the crowd and heading off to chat to punters afterwards, it was safe to say her stint at Curtin University was a good one.