The Pleasure Garden Served Up Something Different At The Catani Gardens
Something like a mixture of Rainbow Serpent, Glastonbury and Burning Man, there was so much happening at The Pleasure Garden.
There were roving theatrical performers, impressive art installations, carnival rides and food galore. There were day beds to chill out on or even a roller skating rink if you were in the mood to risk your ankles. The eye for detail was jaw dropping. Such was the organisation, that there was hardly ever a long wait at the bar.
The two stage areas were not your usual rigs either. The main stage looked like a deep south Louisiana mansion and the use of secondhand wood and pallets used to create the second stage would make any Pintrest freak lose their minds. Crafty buggers.
After a moving acknowledgement to the indigenous forefathers of the area, the gates were flung open. Those who arrived early were treated to special sets from locals Sovereign Trax, Beatrice and Kodiak Kid. By the time electro roots maestros OKA hit the main stage and electro swingers Mortisville and Friends hit the side stage, the clouds had parted, the sun was out and the dancing had begun.
Ngaiire graced the main stage with her incredible voice and it was unfortunate that her set was shorter than expected, because the punters loved it. Ngaiire’s soul vibes floating through The Pleasure Garden’s handmade wonderland was a much needed change of pace.
A highly anticipated set from Spoonbill saw their genre-defying dub rhythms met with wild celebration. The sun was heating up by this stage and so was the crowd as they bounced along loving every beat drop and brass flare.
Blue King Brown took over the main stage and the big band delivered a stirring set of their urban roots classics. While this was happening, possibly the highlight of the day was happening over on the other stage. Dub FX and band were tearing it up. Dub’s voice so authentic and the crazy tight band, they were simply slaying the crowd. To top things off Dub FX proposed to his girlfriend and when she said yes, those who were there to witness, lost their minds.
Legendary UK group Dub Pistols Sound System brought their dub ska hip hop sound to Australia for the first time and didn’t let fans down. Tash Sultana was over on the main stage proving why she’s the live performance du jour with a voice stronger than a five foot nothin’ should have.
The Correspondents delivered a cracking set, which was no mean feat for a couple of pasty Liverpool natives. The Cat Empire jumped onto the main stage and played somewhat of a subdued set. Punters were waiting and hoping to hear The Crowd so they could sing along to “on the St Kilda sands,” but alas, the obvious single didn’t get a spin.
Closing out the night on the main stage were Melbourne natives The Opiuo Band and it was the perfect selection to send the event off. The inaugural Pleasure Garden had been an incredible day and Opiuo was just the right vibe for everyone to throw their hands in the air, take it all in and look forward to what the organisers have instore for next year.
Words by Dan Wallwork
Image by Juan Castro
Highlight: The whole damn vibe.
Lowlight: C’mon Cat Empire, play the hits.
Crowd Fave: When she said yes.