IN THE PINES @ Somerville Auditorium gets 9/10

In The Pines @ Somerville Auditorium
Sunday, October 18, 2020


When RTRFM’s flagship local music event In the Pines, held annually in April, was called off due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, it’s fair to say that backing the festival to return in 2020 was a long shot at best. However, last month came with news of a rescheduled event in October, and with only a few minor changes to the line up, RTR rolled out an In The Pines experience that you would have expected any other year but with one key difference; the new October slot meant that the event’s customary autumn rain was replaced by sweet sunshine – a first taste of the upcoming summer.

It was also quite fitting that for many of those involved in In the Pines, whether they be the audience, the performers, staff or of course the wonderful volunteers, that this would be the first large-scale music event that they had been able to be part of following a lean six months of live music. One could also appreciate the sentiment that despite border closures restricting musicians from interstate or across the world to tour WA, the quality of music here in our state is so high that a festival like In the Pines stands on its own two feet due to our city’s abundance of talent to showcase.

Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse

The day kicked off with a warm Welcome to Country from Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, who not only entertained but also educated the growing audience with their unique gift of sharing songs and stories in Noongar language.

Trolley Boy

Led by the sassy-punk vocals of Germaine Jones, Trolley Boy played a mix of fan favourites, such as the WAM award winning Derby Jetty, alongside more recently minted indie disco bangers which we hope to see on a full length release soon.

The Struggling Kings

Kimberley born brothers The Struggling Kings presented a truly royal performance showcasing why they took home 2019’s WA Music’s Best Indigenous Act with the poetic lyrics of Telling Eyes a real highlight.

Hi. Ok, Sorry. switched gears with a suite of textured electronica that ebbed and flowed from mesmerising soundscapes to climatic peaks.


Paranoias picked up the pace and the energy with a frenetic blast of punk rock packed with fierce vocals and instrumentation.


Maduwongga and Noongar rapper MissGenius came armed with dexterous rhymes and smooth beats. Her 2020 WAM Indigenous Song of the Year winner, I Don’t Wanna Be was a standout in a set highlighted by both her bars and breathy vocals.


The star of Cuss continues to rise thanks to their authentic take on late 60s garage rock and irresistible melodies. With guitar tones reminiscent of The Seeds and a lead vocalist that could be mistaken for a young Dylan, the group’s set featured some of the best songs of the day, including Mainland, Never Again and Caitlin’s Song.

Wayne Green’s Ragged Company and Lee Sappho

Freo blues legends Wayne Green’s Ragged Company demanded the audience’s attention in his Richmond jersey over the hard boogie-woogie rock of his band. Fellow local vocalist Lee Sappho shared mic duties on stage, with the pair unapologetically turning things up to 11 on closer, The Easybeat’s Sorry.

Nika Mo

Nika Mo acknowledged the change of atmosphere that her elegantly Pastel-adorned four-piece were about to bring being “sandwiched between two rock dogs today.” Nevertheless, the group’s clouds of atmospheric sounds, infused with melancholic chamber-pop, proved hypnotic.

Bolt Gun

Bolt Gun showed off their abrasive and experimental sound shaking the crowd out of any potential mid-afternoon slumber the tranquil setting may have imbued. The band built waves of sound over thick subterranean bass lines and combative percussion that, while it may have scared many of the little ones off, was well received by the older punters.

New Nausea

New Nausea provided one of the highlights of the day as they belted out their anthemic Bright Bloody Blue. Their live sound throughout the set was well-considered, cascading between louder moments of discordant guitar and stripped back parts which allowed the songs and the colourful lyrics space to breathe.

Adrian Dzvuke

Adrian Dzvuke and his band brought a fun dance vibe to the grounds with their positively infectious brand of hip hop. Dzvuke owned the mic as he delivered rhythms and rhymes over funky Latin and trap inspired beats, probably summed up best as sounding like Drake but with more energy.

Shy Panther

Shy Panther’s songs were built on swirling keyboard textures bolstered by groovy bass lines. The group wrap up elements of indie, shoegaze and psychedelia into a unique, if at times melancholy, sound that is certainly their own.

Datura 4

Datura 4, comprised of some of the scene’s most seasoned performers and led by Dom Mariani (The Stems), showed why they have been so influential on Perth’s music community. A true bunch of pros, the group delivered a heady dose of rocky Zeppelin-esque riffs and sparkling keyboard melodies from Bob Patient.

Felicity Groom

Felicity Groom’s set was unfortunately disrupted by a few technical issues which was disappointing as you could tell the music had all the elements of some great songs but things never really got into gear. Fresh tracks like Burj Khalifa showed Groom is bursting with new and inventive musical ideas though, so there are plenty of reasons to get excited about her new album getting launched at Mojo’s next month.

The Bank Holidays

It was a welcome surprise to see old friends The Bank Holidays back on stage after almost a decade long absence. The group expertly wound their way through a short set of originals before being joined by the Menagerie Choir to perform a number of acapella covers, with Jade Imagine’s Remote Control a real standout of the set.

Grievous Bodily Calm

Grievous Bodily Calm eased into their set with an extended intro on the synth, before launching into a genre-bending instrumental suite. The five-piece showcased their immense talent with everything from slick jazz rhythms to adventurous improvisation.

Soukouss Internationale

As is the case on just about every line up they feature on, Soukouss Internationale stole the show. Frontman Queency had the audience in the palm of his hand, encouraging everyone to join the group in joyful dance propelled by pumping Congolese rhythms, rich vocal melodies and slick instrumentation from band members right across the world. As one of the few inclusions to the revised line up, Soukouss Internationale left nothing in the tank.

Old Blood

Old Blood are a consistently brilliant live band, and this was no exception. With their blend of soulful blues, gritty vocals and a roaring guitars, the four-piece always looked in command of the stage.

Demon Days

Sadly, this was the last gig for the much beloved Demon Days but they did not leave without a bang. The group won the crowd over with their neo-soul vibes as singer Bella Nicholls put in a tremendously energetic performance that was equally matched by a tight horn section and the drummer’s high energy, precision grooves.

Verge Collection

In what had been thoroughly enjoyable day, it was now up to Verge Collection to send the remaining crowd home on a high. Hits like Getting Old and Cover it Up had the audience singing along, culminating with the rousing closer and national radio hit Our Place.

Overall In the Pines will be remembered by those that were there not just for the artists on the day or the fabulous weather, but also as a success story from a cherished independent station in RTRFM that were able to regroup, hand-in-hand the with local music community, to deliver an event that would have surpassed expectations in regular year. To do it in 2020 is a testament to the station, the supporters, artists and patrons that keep the music alive and well in WA. Fortunately, with the event expected to return to its usual date in April next year, we hopefully won’t have to wait so long this time to do it all again.


Photos by Adrian Thomson


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