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From the beginning of noon to the time the moon shone above us, Perth blissfully celebrated its local music scene amongst the pine trees of UWA on Sunday, April 14th. After 26 years of producing the best live performances from Perth’s alternative scene, RTRFM’s In The Pines 2019 once again delivered a night to remember. With 2 stages, 10 hours, 20 local acts and 30-minute sets, we took temporary residence under the trees—while indulging in a picnic or grub from the food trucks—and danced, swayed, took shelter from the rain, and relaxed to the sounds of Perth’s finest.

The day kicked off with a welcome to country with Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, who also sang a few songs. Gina’s melodic voice sang in both Noongar language and English, a beautiful mixture of linguistics that worked perfectly for The Church’s Under the Milky Way.

Natasha Eldridge then graced the stage with her vibrant, sequined red scarf. As the first notes of her set began, so did the rain; but it didn’t stop Eldridge from giving a stellar performance with covers of Angus and Julia Stone’s Big Jet Plane, Christine Anu’s My Island Home and Amy Winehouse’s Valerie.

On the second stage, the five-piece band Gazey astonished the crowd with their lo-fi, synth music. The singer’s neon orange sweater wasn’t the only standout, as the group amplified the intensity, and the volume, for their effervescent set.

Up next, Didion’s Bible. The stage was not big enough for this band, as energetic frontmen Drew and Laurent quickly proved. Collectively, I couldn’t count the number of times each of them had been on the ground. Juxtapose that with the nonchalant band, including straight-faced Tom on the synthesiser, and you’re left with a unique bunch of musicians with extra charisma and a side order of chaotic fun.

Following on was the psychedelic instrumentals of Yomi Ship, a perfect shift of tempo. Yomi Ship’s ethereal music and rhymical tunes captured every member of the audience and took us on a wild adventure.

Hexx shifted us to the heavier side of music. The drums, bass, electric guitars and vocals were intense and fierce from the offset. The music was audible throughout the campus, although a couple taking wedding photos outside the venue didn’t seem to mind.

Grunge pop-rock band Flossy was next and they were serving us fun-sized packets of attitude. The angsty, badass vocals of sisters Lauren and Sinead would have made the students of St. Trinians proud.

There’s a trumpet, a saxophone, a bass guitar, an electric guitar and a set of drums. It must be five-piece, jazz funk group Gemma Farrell Quintet. The group’s mix of quick tempo and smooth jazz got the crowd swaying into a relaxing trance.

Nine-piece band Salary brought even more instruments: violin, flute, acoustic guitar, drums, saxophone, bass, mandola, synthesiser and accordion. After recently being featured as RTRFM’s local feature, Salary delivered an exceptionally unique performance.

Punk band Cold Meat was a perfect example of girl power with frontwoman Ashley’s rocking vocals and killer scream breathing new life into the crowd. It’s electric, it’s energetic, it’s Cold Meat doing what they do best.

Next was alt-country group The Little Lord Street Band, whose well-tailored harmonies mixed with a resonance that only time and work could achieve. The passion expressed by each of the five members was intoxicating and a pleasure to watch.

With an introduction by Treasurer Ben Wyatt, the crowd went wild as Flanders jumped onstage for the first time since 2001. The ‘90s band were a crowd favourite, with everyone singing, dancing and cheering along to their set. The young ‘uns and the oldies were all united, the young ones wistful for the ‘90s and the oldies nostalgic for their youth. We all wished for more once it ended. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 18 years.

Noah Dillon—in his first In The Pines experience—drew our attention. Not only ours, however, as the first licks of the song Maggots also attracted a kookaburra to come down and investigate where these maggots were. The kookaburra may not have got the grub it deserved, but it seemingly enjoyed the beautiful melodies and stunning vocals.

As the sun set, and the kookaburra took a seat on the fairy lights, Jack Davies and the Bush Chooks lulled a solemn goodbye to the day and a welcoming hello to the night. It was the perfect serenade, with couples holding each other in their arms or slow dancing under the one visible star in the sky. With songs that capture the Perth spirit, it was a magical experience.

Next, Zerodent turned up the volume. The songs were quick but edgy; heavy but inventive. Even Pat Chow’s drummer got in on the fun during their set up, adding his own flair to the songs.

Each Pat Chow member was sporting a car air freshener around their necks. The band did their music justice, delivering an exceptional, entertaining set with a fun attitude that we all adored. In the end, we all wanted more.

“Thanks, Pat Chow. Wish we could have watched you more,” says Carla Geneve before launching into her set. Her music was mellow, her vocals sweet, and the lyrics beautifully tailored stories which Carla presented to us for our enjoyment. And enjoy it we did, whole-heartedly.

Despite the campus promoting a smoke-free environment, Mt. Mountain unleashed the smoke machine. As I laid back on a patch of green, synthetic grass, the band took me on a musical journey, rising higher up the mountain before soaring down to the ground once again.

Methyl Ethel’s Jake Webb took us on his own journey as well. We were the unsuspecting fish hooked on his fishing line and transfixed by his ethereal melodies. ‘We’re out of the darkness and into the pines,’ he told us before the trickle of the tunes kicked up again. As his set ended, we were all tranquil.

Time to pump up the volume, as Downsyde swaggered on stage. The crowd fed off the energy of the hip-hop group. Once the mix was turned down after the first song, the rappers showed us their talent and skill. It was also impressive to see the drummer singing along with the three rappers whilst keeping the beat active.

Finally, we reached the last performer, and we were not ready for the beauty, the power that was Grace Barbé. Her bass guitar breathed more and more life into the crowd. It was exhilarating to watch her play and listen to her sweet, melodic vocals. Once again, we were wanting more, although we weren’t treated to it. But it was still a brilliant way to close the event.

Every band delivered a stellar performance and displayed how talented, creative and energetic Perth musicians are. Not only that but how supportive they are of each other. It was truly pleasing to see the musicians joining the crowd, after their own respective sets had ended, and enjoy the performances from other bands. It was also heart-warming to see the crowd actively immerse themselves in the music, except for a select few who chose to hide behind their recording phones. Despite the weather and the muddy, dirt ‘dancefloor’, In The Pines was a fabulous day of celebrating local music. If you ever want an excuse to picnic with your friends and family under beautiful pine trees while listening to talented musicians, then In The Pines is where you need to be.