Live Review: Vera Blue + Northeast Party House + GRAACE + Stace Cadet – Factory Summer Festival, Brisbane Showgrounds (20.12.20)

Mosh pits are officially burning up in Brisbane with Factory Summer Festival reviving the dance floor and reminding us how (un)pleasant it feels to be drenched in your neighbour’s sweat.

One of the biggest nights of the festival saw a four act bill headlined by Vera Blue alongside Northeast Party House, GRAACE and Stace Cadet. Crowds came out to the Brisbane Showgrounds in full force, wearing what would’ve been their Splendour or Falls retired attire.

On entrance, the throbbing beats of Stace Cadet got punters in the mood for a dirty night, with white squares painted on the mosh pit floor in an attempt to isolate the audience. We could already see it would be a futile attempt with the crowdy gettin’ rowdy pretty early in the day. Stace Cadet grew this anticipation, topping it off with his huge 2020 hit with KLP, “Energy”.

Spirits were high as GRAACE took the stage, joined for the first time by producer Tasker. As always, GRAACE is a festival wow-er, warming the audience’s vocals with her hits “Last Night”, “SOS” and making it a home run with her Jarryd James track, “NUMB”. Security guards made sure to virtue signal COVID safety by flashing placards asking people to find their own squares ‘or the show stops’. The show did not stop.

Instead, it launched right into the team of heartthrobs, Northeast Party House. Six band members of striking attire and talent, NEPH turned this sundown into a proper major festival vibe. The EDM rock band packed out the pavilion, cooking up a familiar and forgotten sweat storm between sardined fans. The band asked for the crowd to step back and try distancing but that’s always a difficult feat at their live shows. “Shelf Life”, “Magnify” and “Dominos” were set highlights, beaten only by the multiple cowbells being thrashed across the stage – I counted three, and I love a cowbell live.

Vera Blue. She lights up any space she enters and this was no different. Headlining the night, she did not disappoint with her performance presence or vocal precision, with her musicians equally as talented. Vera played her acoustic for a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” as well as her track “Like I Remember You”, and sprinkled her tambourine and synth work throughout the set. Vera Blue is high-octane energy with instant likeability and definitely deserves headline recognition.

Despite the wary COVID flag waving, Factory Summer Festival is a great celebration of live music and a night to punctuate the year.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Factory Summer Festival continues in Brisbane until December 31, and travels to Perth and Melbourne for Mach 19 – April 05, 2021.

For more details including day lineups and tickets, visit their website.

Tait McGregor

@taitmcgregor

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