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SO POP @ Kings Park gets 8/10


SO POP @ Kings Park & Botanic Garden

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

8/10

Walking down to the amphitheatre that is Kings Park’s Pioneer Women’s Memorial, I first wondered if everyone attending was taking an extended leave of the silly season because who usually would get out of work before 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon? The ‘ahh’ realisation struck me when I arrived around 6 and gathered that it was the young mummy demo. They’ve booked this night of nostalgia off for weeks to relive their prime time of pure pop.

Arriving to catch the end of 2 unlimited, their biggest hit blasted through the speakers with a “Y’all ready for this?” Get Ready, that classic track from Bring it On, where the Toros perform the same routine as a rival team in the cheerleading regionals (scandalous!). You can’t help but get those spirit fingers moving and wonder where the hell Sparky Polastri (the choreographer) got off.

Picnic blankets, camping chairs and cheese and wine platters made it one of those very low key evening on the grass type of events that suddenly come to life when the sun sets. A few groups donned their fluoro and relived the wacky trends of the 90s and noughties, but this time around they were drinking bottles of champers because they’re adults now and they can afford such things. With a fairly smooth transition Eiffel 65 got up with Move Your Body and the DJ was killing in those fingerless gloves. I wondered if they could hear anything anymore having toured for 20 years with their 747-volumed Euro club music. With a touching tribute to Avicii they did a cover of his Without You adding the occasional “Sing it!” for good measure. I could be cynical and say it’s just a sweaty bald dude on autotune on a blank stage but everyone in the crowd was up and dancing to Blue (Da Ba Dee) and digging it hard.

The most surprising aspect, logistically, was the swift nature in which they changed acts. They had DJ Nick Skitz with his gogo dancers on for about 20 minutes and then it was onto the next each time – even bringing on the decks before Vengaboys had finished their encore (awks).

B*witched

B*witched returned to Perth, after their Metro City gig two years prior, with the two original members and their diamante encrusted denim and kicked it off with Rollercoaster. The new additions were only half as confident in their high kicks and jumping fist pumps, because after all, the originals have been doing those same moves for 20 years. With To You I Belong came an ABBA medley and I had to ask myself, why were these girls not saying anything in their songs about female equality. They were an all girl band for Pete’s sake, I’m sure if they’d sung about the gender pay gap or sexism in the music industry or even the expiration date on females we could have learnt a hec more, but enough with the opinions of a mid-20s upstart, right? They signed off their set with an umbrella choreographed Weatherman before returning for an encore of the fun loving and overly sexualised C’est La Vie.

Blue

Next up, Blue were a total surprise. For one, they must be drinking some age reversing serum because they look damn good for mid 30s. Secondly, they hit those same high notes and held perfect harmonies of All Rise all the while getting those smooth boy band moves nice and synchronized. And third of all Bieber did not invent the pout – Blue did. With an Elton John cover of Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word they got the ladies into a total swoon state.

Once darkness had totally set in and every mum was dancing and screaming to every song, I started to consider all the dads at home letting their kids climb along the back of the couch and eat Dominos pizza without a plate but for now Kings Park had erupted into a La Macarena dance comp.

Vengaboys

Down to the second headliner, Vengaboys appeared in fabulous fashion. They invented Burning Man attire before Burning Man did – cosmic and circus combined, they dazzled their crazy screaming fans with all their greatest tracks We like to Party, Shala Lala, We’re Going to Ibiza, Up & Down and even Uncle John from Jamaica, and European island trashy club music was alive and well.

I think it was by this stage that I realised all of these bands had the same dance moves, they were using the same visuals (did that typography seriously come from MS word?) and quite possibly the same outfits that they had used a lifetime ago. This overwhelming epiphany swept over me when I realised they were trapped in time, trapped in an era that didn’t exist anymore but the hungry fans wanted to hold onto something from their pasts, so like Kent Brockman they pinned back their loose skin and kept smiling and dancing. After not quite getting a callback from the crowd they returned for Boom Boom Boom and a final farewell.

AQUA

With a full band set up, drummer, pianist, guitarists and back up singers, Aqua made their entry – Lene in a chain-patterned suit and Rene in a full red sequins and long dreadlocks. I’m not sure if Around the World was the perfect opener unless they were just trying to solidify their global success. Picking it up with Happy Boys & Girls they were more worn out and sweaty than ‘happy’ but they mostly had the venue singing along. Ironically halfway through My Oh My, Rene’s earpiece cut out and she kept on singing along, with even more oomph and well earned professionalism. Most of the songs were sung a third below so although it sounded like Barbie Girl, it didn’t feel like Barbie Girl before a cover of Turn Back Time slowed things down.

So Pop was an interesting event. It had everything you asked for. No sense of the word sophistication but pure nostalgia in a beautiful Perth setting. Well organised and well facilitated with an abundance of food trucks. Ignore me and my cynicism, the attendees had fun and delivered their expectations.

MIA CAMPBELL-FOULKES

 

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