Gigged In presents Woodlock and special guests
On Saturday, the 27th of April, a group of four well-established buskers were brought together at the Sydney Live House, Lewisham. Gigged In presented the young talents of Jarne, Jack Man Friday, Everything After and Woodlock; each successful buskers in their respective areas of Melbourne and Sydney. Sydney Live House at the Lewisham Hotel hosted this event and the venue was definitely appropriate for a gig such as this. Intimate and informal, it supported a crowd of over 100 audience members, making crowd control easier for the performers and more accessible for the fans.
Young talent Jarne opened the night with his powerful husky voice, showing a great deal of control that sounded not unlike Ed Sheeran. As well as knocking down the audience with a cover of Give Me Love, he presented covers from the Foo Fighters, MGMT, John Mayer. While quite raw, he was quite professional in his execution and showed us he was an especially unique talent with unconventional methods in playing the guitar. By laying the instrument horizontal on his lap, he managed to replicate a full band of percussion and display talent with raw acoustic guitar, thoroughly impressing the audience. Especially considering successful covers of songs and the need to create an identity, buskers seem to have a licence to innovate and experiment with sound and genre and the best part is, they’re good at what they do.
JackManFriday is a young Sydney talent, mesmerising the audience with his skills in vocals and electric guitar. His manipulation of amps and recording technology is cutting edge as he uses creativity and innovation to experiment. Jack is outlandishly skilled and impressive in the collaboration and craft of song writing as he seems to have a solid understanding of the elements necessary to a harmonised sound, and can do so performing as a one man act. Jack himself has incredible control over his voice which has improved since his first EP Wolves. He ran through the set list of his new self-titled EP Jack Man Friday, showing off his incredible range of genres and vocal talents as a singer/songwriter. Buskers tend to need a mastery of all genres, if only to widen their audience catchment. JackManFriday was especially able to show his range of vocal and musical talent across genres such as beatbox, Indie-Folk, Rock, even Soul. At an event such as this, four bands with a great variation of talent, the night was a rollercoaster of tempo, mood and genre and the audience of devoted fans could do nothing but sway with the current.
Everything After is a two-man band who sounds like a cross between Boy and Bear and Mumford and Sons. With an intelligent mix of acoustic, electric and ukulele, their vocals were amazing. They were fully polished and passionate in folky music, even encroaching on the genre of bush band by incorporating percussion and tambourine in their charisma. Everything After is a multi-skilled band of perfect harmonies, with the best example of their sound being their excellent, yet unique cover of Mumford and Sons’ Awake My Soul. All bands, especially Everything After, played a number of new tunes, so the audience felt privy to their musical process, felt special to be the test audience for a song never before heard.
Finally, the main act of the night, Woodlock, took the crowd by storm. Woodlock sounds like a combination of Mumford and Sons and The Paper Kites. Their collaboration of keyboard, electric and acoustic guitar, ukulele and percussion identify them as a bush band, an indie-folk band and a successful one at that. They have all the components of a polished, professional band, with husky harmonies, and adaptations of pop-rock, for example a funk-folk rendition of Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry, Child. They had a casual friendliness about them, conversing with the audience and laughing with each other and after a while, the gig started to seem like a practice rehearsal in their garage. Yet their music was spot on perfect. While they have a set genre, just like Everything After, they stick to it and really impressed people with the quality of their music.
Because these were bands of buskers, they’re raw and real and their performances are passionate. They seem to have a level of respect, a certain reverence for the craftsmanship of music. All bands were polished, professional and above all, they had fun during their performances and therefore we the audience delighted in their fun. Their light conversation and banter kept the performance interactive and alive and all of the acts managed to please the crowd, yet held us in the palm of their hand. Previously, I’ve bought CD’s from the buskers, as I stand there and wish to take their music home, for an affordable price and to support local talent. While the studio and sound recordings of the EPs immortalise my favourite buskers, they don’t seem to capture the true performance of these people. The atmosphere, the mood, the whimsical and jovial nature of these people and their utter passion cannot be experienced anywhere but live in performance and it was a privilege to pay money to see these bands under one roof for one night.
All of these buskers can be found and followed on YouTube and Triple J Unearthed. They have most forms of social media to follow if you’re interested in networking to find their next performance, be they in Bourke St, Melbourne or Pitt St, Sydney.