Bands at the Newtown Festival

Sydney’s Newtown has a community festival each year. Live music features heavily, so I went along to check it out. I was especially keen to see a couple of acts I’d read about in TimeOut recently, The Barons of Tang and Dead Letter Office.

I missed the very start of the The Barons of Tang‘s set, but the  bit I did catch was a lot of fun. Lots of high-energy punked-up gypsy-folk, a la Gogol Bordello. “Dogs of Rotterdam” is a fun song, with lots of dynamics to keep your attention. Although the rain started, they had the crowd down front dancing. Lots of fun.

The Barons of Tang. Photo from *Insomnia via Creative Commons license

Next was a surprise: Canadian songstress Jill Barber. Her style is very mellow, very chilled-out. I thought it was a good entry for sitting on a lawn with a few thousand other people on a now dry – and increasingly sunny – Sunday afternoon. It gave everyone a chance to chill and have a cold beer and soak up the festival vibe properly.

We stuck around a bit for Dead Letter Chorus. Their gentle, country-tinged indie was well-played, but it didn’t strike the right note. They were neither rambunctious enough to get the crowd up and moving, nor happy-mellow enough to make us smile. Someone behind me said it was “dreary”. It was just misplaced, I think.

On the way out I stopped by one of the smaller stages and heard an excellent closing song from hip-hop/reggae guys Rumpunch. Loud, fun, shoutalong and catchy!

Rumpunch. Photo from chris frape via Creative Commons license