ELECTRIC FIELDS @ Chevron Gardens gets 8/10

Electric Fields @ Chevron Gardens
w/ Skinnyfish Sound System, Koi Child DJs

Friday, February 9, 2018

8/10

Chevron Gardens opened at Elizabeth Quay for 2018 on Friday night, showcasing musical innovators fusing together centuries old traditional music with contemporary beats.

The CBD’s largest skyscrapers provided the backdrop for the main stage, an amphitheatre with an impressive sound system to block out the very loud, neighbouring Noodle Palace.

Nestled between food and drink vendors the Garden Stage was already buzzing with familiar faces Koi Child behind the decks acting as the DJs for the night.

The first and headlining act of the night Electric Fields got under way as the audience grew following the deep vocals echoing from the stage.

The duo combines Zaachariaha Fielding’s androgynous, soulful vocals with producer Michael Ross on keyboard and backing vocals.

Together their show ranged from tracks of intimate storytelling to huge pop melodies with impressive electronic-pop behind them.

Opening with Shade Away, as energetic as Ross was behind the keys he was matched with the gloriously feminine and commanding presence of Zaachariaha belting out the catchy dance track.

A few seconds into their next song they were thrown off by the sound cutting out. Without a fuss they instead played a stripped down version of Nina.  The track’s lyrics were transcribed from an interview in the 70s with artist and Civil Rights activist Nina Simone about freedom, with a chorus written by duo. The result is as magically powerful as it is gentle and heartfelt with Zaachariaha receiving cheers as he tore off his hair wrap revealing swinging waist length braids.

All the while, Michael behind the keys was balancing between playing and joining in on harmonies and jumping back to the laptop to try and fix the technical issues, they sounded incredible and if you couldn’t see the performers you wouldn’t have known there was a hitch.

Working through more tracks from their debut EP Inma, Zaachariaha particularly shone when singing lyrics from his traditional language of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjajara people.

He shone so much so that it had Ross at one point taking a step back from his keyboard and watching Zaachariaha in awe grinning from ear to ear.

Their passion and enthusiasm was matched by an impressive and zesty light display silhouetting the performers, taking the show up a notch and resulting in an infectious groove.

Closing their set with deep and thumping Ornament, Electric Fields nailed their first show in WA (give or take a low key Festival Eve slot on the Garden Stage the night prior) and were clearly grateful for the warm reception.

It was a hard act to follow but Skinnyfish Sound System, who incorporate five different cultures from five performers on stage mixing ancient chants from 60,000 years ago with urban beats, delivered an energy packed performance with the dance floor almost doubling in capacity as everyone was encouraged to jump and dance along with them.

Their act varied between heartfelt songs, didgeridoo solos, rap, and some really impressive DJ work.

Throughout their set they paid homage and respect to each of their own cultures whilst inviting us all to join in a celebration of music and history.

RUBY WHEELER

Photos by Matsu Photography

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