Live Review: Dark MOFO closing night 'Satanalia' feat. The Drones + Barbarion + Boris + more – MAC 2, Hobart (22.06.13)

  • Kat Mahina
  • June 24, 2013
  • Comments Off on Live Review: Dark MOFO closing night 'Satanalia' feat. The Drones + Barbarion + Boris + more – MAC 2, Hobart (22.06.13)

After 10 days of live music, art installations and plenty of wine and gourmet dining it was time to say goodbye to Dark MOFO with a massive free party along the waterfront which the entire city of Hobart could enjoy.

The Winter Feast was a definite highlight with a vast array of local produce on offer ranging from seafood decadence to dumplings with a different kind of liquor to match every dish on offer. The food stalls came complete with interactive cooking demonstrations from Frank Camorra of Movida and my personal favourite Matthew Evans, the Gourmet Farmer; his pork buns were delicious. Held at PW1 next door to Salamanca, places at the indoor communal dining tables and outdoor fire pits filled up early as many gathered simply to watch the various bands and theatre groups playing all over the grounds and enjoy the jovial atmosphere that helped warm up the icy winters evening.

Robin Fox’s White Beam was a chilling experience. The megawatt laser moved in time to phasing bass frequencies which seemed to shake the ground beneath your feet. I heard the eerie doomsday sounds and felt the vibrations moving through my body before I saw the beam dancing through the trees in a miasma of purple and white. The effect was hypnotic as the punters outside at the feast seemed to stop still in a trance-like state and gaze at the wonder of the beam.

On the other side of the wharf the closing night concert Satanalia was in full swing. The setup was great with food vans, bars and restrooms outside of MAC 2 for those wishing to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the Beam In Thine Own Eye works without paying $80 for entry into the hall, with passouts and a shuttle bus service available so you could go between the festival sites at your leisure.

I stumbled into Satanalia during The Drones set to be blown away by the powerhouse that is Gareth Liddiard. The man has a manic aura and their bluesy tunes took on an apocalyptic edge with the sheer ferocity of their live energy.

The crowd thinned significantly as they walked off the main stage and our attention was turned to stage two that was sneakily placed on top of the toilet block. Melbourne group Fourteen Nights At Sea did well to capture the crowd’s attention with their particular brand of moody instrumental metal. Technically, their set was solid. I found myself waiting for them to really take off and push the limits of their arrangements and for me they never quite got there but they have a good sound and their brief set wasn’t unenjoyable.

Japanese post-rockers Mono are purveyors of very beautiful music. Their emotionally evocative arrangements were poignant, honest and incredible to be a part of. Mono managed to lure the crowd back into the hall with their intense atmospherics which seemed to bring time to a stand still and it was just us, them and the sound melding together as one.

Melbourne brothers Adam and Sam Sherry are A Dead Forest Index and they sound even better live than they do on record. They have a haunting atmos that was accentuated by their ethereal harmonies and live vocal looping. Their understated presence allowed the music to speak for itself and I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

Barbarion were the highlight of my night as they destroyed Dark MOFO with their blistering set. Having loved seeing them play around Melbourne in previous years I was still not prepared for their obscene levels of awesome with their over-the-top onstage antics that had the crowd in a frenzy. There’s nothing quite like being alone in a sea of grown men wearing suits and watching them rip off their ties, screaming like teenagers, completely losing their shit thrashing around and chanting along with the band “WE DIE FOR ROCK”. With their pyrotechnics, flaming war hammers, dazzling lights and feel good metal it was impossible not to mosh along with the band as both frontmen dived into the crowd damn near causing a riot as their guitarist set about burning his instrument during their final song. I’ll chop with you anytime Barbarion, your live act never grows old.

I felt for Angel Eyes having to follow on from Barbarion’s testosterone fueled mania with his electronic ambiance that in different circumstances would have been incredible. Andrew Cowie is a very talented man and his sound scapes are always a pleasure – albeit one that would still be better taken with visual projections to enhance his sound. Cowie also had to contend with Boris soundchecking on the mainstage and at times they completely overwhelmed him; making it that much more difficult to get into his set. Which ended all too briefly as he seemed to gracefully take cues from the audience, most of whom were lined up at the mainstage eagerly anticipating the next band.

Boris was the band I too was most looking forward to seeing but I found it difficult to wind down and get into their sound in my post-Barbarion haze. That being said, they were still a great live act and watching Wata shred amidst the clouds of smoke made for a special live music moment. Atsuo seemed intent on amping up the crowd, constantly standing up behind his kit, causing us all to cheer as they carefully built their compositions into powerful crescendos, closing out my Dark MOFO music experience on a high.

All in all the few days I spent at Dark MOFO were amazing and for me it will go down in history as being one of the premier festival events in Australia. It was a very well organised, well coordinated gathering with the crowds being manageable and on very good behaviour, the queues for bar, food and toilet facilities were not ridiculous and entertainment wise there really was something for everyone to enjoy. A big thank-you goes out to the Hobart City Council and David Walshe and co. for creating such a unique experience to showcase the harsh and elegant beauty of our island state and for making me sorely wish that I still called Tasmania home.