It is not uncommon to understand the archetypal artist as belonging intrinsically to one of two different camps – those that struggle to make the art they create unique, and then those who simply cannot fathom creating anything in adverse. The latter looks more and more to as many avenues as possible to express their creativity and only the most prodigious of which will succeed in a plethora of different mediums. From genre-defining EP’s to genre-defying albums (and even a few innovating collaborations between), what more is left to prove by man-behind-the-mask Tom Stell – known most notoriously to the world under pseudonym Golden Features – and his unique brand of bass-laden dance music that can’t be best translated best through the earth-shattering frequencies his live shows distribute?
Apparently, plenty, as his refreshing approach – or perhaps more accurately described ‘re-approach’ to his cultishly anthemic discography would denote- and more than enough to convert any yet-to-be fan. Don’t let the standard 4-deck set-up fool you, as perhaps not a single vanilla version from trademark releases like his gut-punching 2014 self-titled debut to groovy The Presets-featuring 2019 EP ‘RAKA’ and even most recent ODESZA collaboration BRONSON were played ‘as-is’. Instead, the rain-soaked attendees of Grapevine Presents were specially treated to an evening with everything from remixes and edits of beloved originals to full-blown mashups that lived and died within the fleeting moments of what culminated in an explosively memorable return to form for large-capacity live events since the world of face to face music effectively ended. Despite consisting of the same tour cycle as massive 2018 debut album SECT, Stell still opts to use his brief but effective 60-minute slot to curate a thoughtful and clever experience, not only preventing the experience from stagnating not only for himself but also for re-occurring patrons who have come to support since the very beginning. It’s a small detail easily missed by all but the most die-hard of fans, but one wholly deserving of mention.
Also lending their talents throughout the proceeds of the day was of course a performance by the celestially dream-like musings of the brother-sister duo and Rufus Du Sol’s Rose Avenue alumni Lastlings. Crowd favourites like 2019’s ‘Déjà vu’ and ‘I’ve Got You’ were serenaded perhaps most appropriately to the rain-drenched neon of the night-time lights their music so effortlessly evokes. Throughout the evening were we also treated to a sliding scale of everything from the boppy nostalgia of indie-electronica darling Bag Raiders to the infectiously jump-up feverishness of Stace Cadet’s tech-house grooves all the way to the sinister thumping techno-influenced set of perhaps one of the most subversive and varied live performers Motez. It’s a disparate but welcome cornucopia of aural pleasantries that make it hard to believe this is the same artist that not even a year ago released his blissfully cathartic, piano-centric EP ‘Soulitude’.
Performances from the likes of Ebony Boadu, Mell Hall and MorningMaxwell in addition to the liquid-smooth operation put on by the time-again proven Untitled Group help to round out an exemplary day in a way that punctuates the atmosphere in and of itself, as Grapevine Presents nets a sorely needed win and sets the precedence by nailing a return to form for the likes of large-scale live music in Australia.