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YARDSTOCK @ North Perth gets 7.5/10


Yardstock @ various venues, North Perth

Saturday, October 26, 2019

7.5/10

For some years I’d heard about this somewhat mysterious local music event called Yardstock. Held in the backyards of people in Perth and Fremantle, it’s one of those cool word-of-mouth things that you only hear about after the event.

You can scan local media for details but alas, you’re likely to find nothing. Because Yardstock exists outside the bounds of institutions or governance – it’s a true anarchist’s wet dream. As such no traditional venues were used, nor mainstream marketing. It didn’t stop the punters coming in droves.

A fellow photographer who has his finger on the pulse of underground music happenings had all the info I needed to find out which bands were playing and even more intriguing – the addresses! This edition moved Yardstock from it’s traditional home in Fremantle to North Perth and Leederville – four venues, three of which were indeed in people’s backyards, with a kick-off in the alleyway next to Rhubarb Records.

She Leaves the Mountain

The smallish starting crowd gradually swelled in number in time for the second band, She Leaves the Mountain, who followed a solo set from Dave Watkins. For me, it vied for best act of this year’s Yardstock with it’s indie rock sound reverberating throughout the laneway, pulling in passersby like a powerful magnet. The final act for this venue was Con Art, a very energetic band who gave it their all despite the heat.

Con Art

SMRTS

Next stop, a home on Charles St and MC Splodge (a local performance poet) introduced SMRTS to an ever-growing crowd. Playing from out of the garage, one moment they gave us a psychedelic surf sound, the next a polka that had the crowd dancing. Other people were chilling under the shade of trees – eskies at the ready. Pub-punks Dennis Commetti followed and those beloved larrikins didn’t disappoint with their brand of pub rock getting what looked like a fair proportion of the crowd dancing and singing along. Last act for Charles St, The Long Lost Brothers music gave off a kinship vibe along with a hefty dose of indie rock.

The Sperts

All The Weathers

Loftus St yard was already full of people when we arrived – some estimates being well over 200 with a fair number of young kids and even a friendly white dog. The ‘stage’ was on the patio – the path leading in took us alongside the band so we felt a part of the music from the start. First off, The Sperts with their infectious brand of garage rock kept up the inclusive feel of the place with frontman Blake often disappearing into the crowd, encouraging participation. Felicity Groom followed with what initially seemed like a strange segue between two heavier rock bands, however, her dreamy sound still packs power and she and her band made it work. Tasmanian post-punks All the Weathers closed Loftus St off with a high energy set and this encapsulated what felt like the best of Yardstock. Bands on the same level as us – so close we could have touched them, in a classic Aussie backyard – free high calibre music bursting with an anarchic, larrikin joy. Wonderful!

Felicity Groom

Salary

Loftus St was always going to be tough to follow but the final stop down a laneway off Vine St did it. Estimates for crowd numbers here ranged from 250 – 400 and this yard was rammed but still with room to move. Dead Jerk were well received in just their fourth gig, the instrumental post-rock vibes with two drummers (and no guitar) giving the neighbours a thing or two to think about. Last Quokka electrified the crowd from the start – engaging us with their energy and passion. It was always going to be a tough one ending a day and night like this but Salary brought it in spades. This genre-busting 9-piece band reads like a who’s who of the WA music scene and true to form Salary were exhilarating and inspiring. A fitting end to one of my musical highlights of this year.

Review and photos LINDA DUNJEY

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