Hidden away amongst beautiful stretches of bright green grass and the villas of unassuming locals sit the rolling hills of the Sunshine Coast's hinterland. I'm excited, something which makes the five kilometre drive over the rocky dirt road to my destination difficult. No sooner than I arrive am I hit with a familiar aroma. It's the kind you experience at many Australian festivals, but this one's different, unique, distinctly its own. It's Jungle Love. I was given the opportunity to attend the Saturday portion of the event but was swallowed by the whole fantasy. l fell in love with the energy in just one day. The music was no different.
Every human in Tia Gostelow’s crowd is dancing. Drummer Matt and guitarist Riley are really playing off of one another, it's fun to watch. ‘That’s What You Get’ has the whole crowd singing.
As the set winds down I make my way over to the glorious food arcade for a snack but am lured away by the sound a band I’ve never heard. At the Jambala stage, Approachable Members of Your Local Community immediately catch my attention. They play jazzy tunes and wear matching Adidas tracksuits. The band are tight and look like they are having the time of their life. They mention between songs that they don’t take themselves too seriously, but the music says different. Their genre of music is right up my alley in the way of taste, synth sounds and catchy melodies guided by interesting lyrics. The set is warm and soulful, a tasteful spin on classic indie-pop. I think to myself that I would love to see them play again.
I head back to the Amphitheatre for Demon Days. Judging by the name, I expect something heavy. Instead, I'm hit with neo soul and basslines that could wake James Brown from his grave. The songs remind me of Hiatus Kaiyote with a sprinkle of BADBADNOTGOOD. They have an amazing stage presence as a unit but most notable is vocalist Bella Nicholls. Her talent is nothing short of incredible. I'm blown away and end up wishing I'd caught more of their set.
Shortly after Rackett take the stage. As experimental punk-pop goes, these girls sure know how to bring it. It's empowering to watch the lead singer Bec Callander jump around the stage. She's moving in all directions, creating a frenzy in the crowd while hyping her fellow band members too.
But if there's one band everyone at this festival has been waiting to see it's Pond. Despite nearly 10 years worth of material, this psych pop powerhouse know better than to deprive an audience of the crowd favourites. Their setlist is perfect, opening with ‘3000 Megatones’ and then gifting us with ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ and ‘Paint Me Silver’. They throw in some new material as well plus a few older psych-rock tracks for long-time fans. ‘Zen Automaton’ from 2017 album The Weather sees outrageously colourful frontman Nick Allbrook pull out a flute and play his solo through a heavily-delayed microphone. Pond have a perfect balance of guitars and synths, neither element is more powerful than the other. The hype which preceded them is amplified by their reputable onstage antics. Allbrook stage dives and relentless teases his crowd. Pond’s live shows are always packed with spectacular moments, and their Jungle Love set is no exception.
Jungle Love is magical, filled with magical people dancing to magical music in a magical land where everyone’s magical pupils seemed to be magically large and wide with wonder. It’s like Splendour but without the I.AM.GIA fur coats and SoundCloud rappers. Instead, it's packed with new, old and distinctive sounds. Up-and-coming or established Jungle Love delivers the music you want to hear. SEE YOU THERE NEXT YEAR!
Words by Anna Leathem
Photo Credit: Savannah van der Niet
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