Live Review: Ziggy Alberts headlines Here Comes The Sun, as Winston Surfshirt shines

Ziggy Alberts played his first show in Western Australia in three-and-a-half years as he headlined Saturday’s Here Comes The Sun festival in Margaret River, also featuring The Dreggs, DZ Deathrays and Winston Surfshirt.

Despite the festival’s name, the sun was only peeping through the clouds with an ominous persistent threat of rain (which occurred during Winston’s set) for the noon gates open start time at the open-air 3 Oceans Winery, three hours south of Perth in the Margaret River wine region.

The venue was as intimate as festivals come, with a few thousand revellers in attendance, largely of a younger age, with one stage overlooked by leafy green trees in the background, with 50m of standing space for the audience followed by picnic rugs on grass from a distance, spilling out to the conveniences.

COVID meant Melbourne singer-songwriter Pricie couldn’t perform, forcing a last-minute playing times shuffle, with local solo indie talent Kiera Jas’ gentle and catchy tunes opening at 1:30pm, followed by all-action all-girl four-piece Body Type.

The crowd really flocked in for popular Sunshine Coast folkies The Dreggs for the 3:30pm timeslot. The big stage looked a little sparse for the duo, but their sweet indie-folk tunes reliably whipped up the energy.

The Dreggs may need to cater their sets better for a festival audience, with lengthy between-song dialogue about ex-girlfriends losing a few, along with slower new track ‘Madeleine’ which felt largely unfamiliar for the audience, enjoying the glimmer of afternoon sunshine. But closing on popular 2018 single ‘Gold’ was a winning choice (pun intended!).

The 30-minute breaks between sets for stage changeovers meant plenty of the crowd retreated to the bars, the handful of food stalls and conveniences on the site, but once DZ Deathrays arrived on stage, the tempo immediately went up, alongside the volume.

The Brisbane dance-punk trio started off by ripping into arguably their best-known track, ‘Gina Works At Hearts’, to set the tone. The smaller pocket of fans let loose with plenty of wild jumping and the closest we came to a mosh throughout the day.

Psychedelic Byron Bay four-piece Babe Rainbow oozed cool with their unique soft rock which blends in a variety of influences, offering an easy way to settle into the evening during the sunset, even if quirky lead Angus Dowling confused a few, declaring they are ‘The Warthogs’ and were jet-lagged after a 6am flight.

One of the main attractions of the festival was Winston Surfshirt who took to the stage at 7:30pm as rain started to fall, with the soulful funky hip-hop sextet’s five instrumentalists shaped around frontman Winston, who danced around in his unique way adorned a red and black ‘Doom’ rugby jumper, blasting out his silky vocals including hits ‘Smile’ and ‘Be About You’.

It’s hard not to bounce along to Winston Surfshirt’s grooves, especially with all six members swaying in sync merrily too. Some of the vocals were drowned out by the brass, from aptly-named trombonist and trumpeter The Bone, often the challenge at open-air festivals.

Winston had an in-control stage presence and even a touch of Freddie Mercury with his curious British accent and wallowing “oh yeah” and “oh no” between songs.


With the rain getting heavier during Winston’s set, Ziggy Alberts opted to halve the wait for his headline show, stepping on stage 15 minutes early which was warmly appreciated by an audience who seemed to largely have come to see the Sunshine Coast solo artist, who hadn’t visited Margaret River in three-and-a-half years, having played numerous shows in the region early in his career.

Ziggy’s set included songs from numerous of his six studio albums, including new LP title track ‘Dancing In The Dark’, which was an emotional ballad. He also showed his repertoire of skills, playing piano on ‘Stronger’, going unplugged for ‘Gone’, a touch of lap steel on ‘Used To’ and electric guitar on ‘I’m Sorry’, after some sound issues which probably could’ve been handled a bit cleaner.

Ziggy definitely tries to put on the best show possible, imploring sing-a-longs and speaking to the crowd with vulnerability and depth, but he can be guilty of forcing energy upon the audience. That’s never easy at a festival where the wants of the crowd differ, but judging your audience is part of the art of showmanship.

It was hard to fault his musicianship, though, during the one-hour-15-minute set which was full of the singles everyone wanted to hear, signing off on crowd-pleasing ‘Laps Around The Sun’ and slow-building ‘Love Me Now’. It marked a chilled but pleasant way to wrap up a big day in the sun and rain.



Ben Somerford

Aussie freelance journalist, sports, music, entertainment, top 10 lists. Take beach pics too.