Walking along the sidewalk bordering the Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne was its typical grey self with the aftermath of a recent storm settled in the sky above as people queued along the wall to gain last minute entry to the NGV’s latest Friday Nights series. It was this visual of black clad art lovers leaning against a stark grey wall that accompanied the last few notes of Two Steps On The Water, reaching out from the open space of the MPavilion. A steady thrum of dark acoustics meshing with jagged violin and vocalist June Jones’ lament created an intense set finale that left hearts clutched and limbs heavy.
Second act Geryon had the unfortunate ordeal of succumbing to the limitations of playing in the park with their electronic setup, with their disparate tones made even more jarring by the waves of sound problems dragging their music in and out of hearing. If not for the technical hiccups, the dark wicked potential of Geryon would have played out wonderfully under overcast skies.
As nighttime crept closer and closer the highly percussive dark ambient pop of Simona Castricum rolled over the audience like a dark cloud. Heady and full of stomp, Castricum sung of “being trans in public and not giving a fuck” rousing an ample collection of swaying bodies along the sides of the pavilion. Occasionally lost in the smoke whenever the wind changed its mind, the wanted addition of fog and lasers would have fit the music sublimely, but honestly the hearty use of bass and running synth created an atmosphere of its own. Like a hollow of avant pop nestled in the city greenery.