The Inland Sea of Sound festival got under way in fine fashion at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night, with three unique performances helping usher in a return to the festival's roots.
Audience members were treated to around three hours of quality, expressive music by Sydney dub/reggae out Sub-Tribe and local acts The Safety of Life at Sea and The Mirandas.
The Mirandas opened proceedings with a concise, half-hour set full of originals covering a wide range of topics, from bushfire devastation to female footballers and climate change.
Clare Moore, who performs vocal and Hohner bass duties for The Mirandas, said it was an enjoyable experience sharing the band's music in front of a festival audience.
"It sounded good from where we were and we felt lucky to have such a receptive and encouraging crowd," Moore said.
Fellow band member Phil Blatch, who has written many of the songs for the group, said it was a great honour to see their originals so warmly received.
"A lot of the songs have a real protest element to it, and it was nice to see the crowd so receptive to our songs," Blatch said.
Mark Adams said there was a real positive energy among the band and the audience, and performing in BMEC helped convey The Mirandas' rock-meets-country sound to a desired effect.
"We haven't been a band for a long time, but we formed out of a shared enjoyment of playing music, and we're thankful for BMEC giving us the opportunity to participate," Adams said.
Following The Mirandas were local favourites The Safety of Life at Sea who, in a first for quite some time, took the stage with a complete nine-piece lineup, including a three-piece horns section and guest vocalists Smith & Jones.
The group, which includes core members Kris Schubert, Lian Wong, Stephen Helman and Tony Bibby, performed an hour-long set featuring a balanced mix of upbeat soul/Motown-infused tunes and deep, reflective ballads, many of which are present on their new record, Let the River Go.
"There's plenty of upbeat songs on the new album indicative of what we've done before but, as a songwriter, I hadn't previously given myself the time to let the slower songs find a place," Schubert said.
"I use songwriting as a form of therapy, and the jolt of changes in career, family and circumstances has certainly influenced the sound of the new album."
"It was the best feeling in the world to have the full band back together on stage, as it fully showcases how the songs sound in my head."
BMEC manager Stephen Champion said the first evening of the festival served as an enjoyable taste of what to expect over the weekend.
"I think people have really embraced the more intimate nature of the festival this year, and we're happy to see the festival in the CBD this year in what is sure to be a memorable experience," Mr Champion said.
The festival continues until Sunday. For more information, visit www.inlandseaofsound.com.au.
Reggae act Sub-Tribe returns to get audiences dancing in their seats
When they performed at last year's Inland Sea of Sound, Sydney reggae outfit Sub-Tribe took the stage as an unknown quantity and left it with a horde of people unable to stop dancing.
While dancing was unable to occur due to COVID-19 restrictions, the group proved once again on Wednesday night why they have become a firm favourite among local music fans.
Lead vocalist Ray Nolan [Ray Jah] said the band was honoured to be invited back for the second year running.
"We got such a warm reception last year from a crowd of people who didn't really know who we were, so when we were invited back, there was no way we could refuse," Nolan said.
"There's certainly a place for reggae music out in country areas, and to receive another positive reception this year only affirms we're on the right track as a band."
Sub-Tribe released their self-titled debut EP last year but, like many other musical acts, faced significant disruption on the gig front due to COVID-19.
"We kept up with some live-streamed gigs, but we're itching to get back into a regular live performance routine once things settle down," Nolan said.
"Sure, people can't dance at the moment, but as long as audiences are still vibing to our tunes, that's all that matters."
With reggae comprising their core sound, Sub-Tribe also incorporates dub and electronic elements.
For more information on Sub-Tribe, visit the group's Facebook page.
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