REVIEW: Raising a glass to This That

Bree Smith -

Music

If like me, you found yourself donning the ever-flattering disposable poncho on Saturday morning, there’s a chance that you were on your way to This That. Other options also include giddily taking on Parkrun, your Saturday morning fitness session/ brunch with your gal pals or maybe you just like sitting out in the rain. By all means, you do you.

With a change of location this year, This That (and Live on the Foreshore) found itself nestled in between the rich middle class families and Newcastle’s share house population. Now I might be a bias Maryville resident, but Wickham Park proved to be a more-than-worthy setting, what with kebabs and everyone’s collective after parties just moments away.

For those of you who got scared by the rain, or find more solace in the farmer’s markets than festivals, I’ve compiled a handy piece detailing what we learnt at This That, to shed a little light on just what you missed out on at Newcastle’s premiere music gathering.

While I’m never one to advocate for VIP tickets at festivals, this may have been one of the only times I’ll say that it was probably worth it. While the drinks line was significantly longer and you were at risk of rogue, flying pool balls, that giant shelter at the main stage was a real game changer earlier in the day.

We can all expect to see a lot more of acts like Kuren, Kinder and Crooked Colours in the coming months, if their This That performances are anything to go by. Pulling respectable crowds early in the day is a difficult feat at festivals, let alone when the heavens decide to open up and unleash their soggy fury.

Can we all just take a moment to acknowledge how great Winston Surfshirt are? If you managed to pry yourself away from the raucous experience that is pre-drinks, I’m sure that you would agree that this Sydney outfit are destined for great things. Their sound, not unlike a great cocktail, is the ideal mixture of indie and dance music, garnished with lashings of brass and well placed sass.

Tash Sultana, though incredibly talented, has oversaturated her own market by choosing to perform at 90% of this year’s festivals. There, I said it. Someone had to. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy loop pedals and surly vocals as much as the next person, but Tash Sultana is an artist that thrives in intimate venues; her sound loses its impact in the open spaces of the festival grounds.

While the youth may be in trouble, you better believe that dance rock legends The Presets, are here to write the soundtrack. Their latest release Do What You Want served as an ode to their earlier work, with heavy basslines and gritty synths, inciting a huge response from the growing crowd of semi-lucid festival goers. If this set wasn’t one of your This That highlights, then I think it’s fair to assume that you just hate having fun.

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons that we learnt at This That, was that women have taken over the electronic scene in a big way. Alison Wonderland is currently headlining festivals all over the world and has become one of the heavy hitters in the industry. I’m sure that no one was surprised to see her topping the festival bill, even more so after her performance on Saturday night. Her set was a mixture of old favourites and new tracks, drowning in special effects and fire cannons. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the mass amounts of fireworks that accompanied her set (because I definitely did), I just think at points it stole the focus away from Alison Wonderland and her stage presence.

Now please join me in raising a glass to This That, surprisingly one of the most well organised and enjoyable festivals of the year.


Bree Smith

Bree is a Newcastle import who survives off British television and hummus. She spends the majority of her time chasing bands up and down the east coast or lost in a wormhole of related artists on Spotify.

If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live

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