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As the afternoon rolled in, the intimate Metro Theatre was packed with fresh-faced adolescents and a distinct lack of beer. Of the five quality bands slated for this all-ages afternoon, it was Triple J Unearthed High winner Japanese Wallpaper, and new favourites Millions who drew the crowd.
Each of Dr Spaceman, FLOWERTRUCK and Hockey Dad brought something vastly different, despite their shared genre. One could be forgiven for assuming that the rowdy hoard of teenage boys that made up much of the crowd were watching their heavy metal idols, such was the alarming passion with which they moshed. In fact, at one stage during the soaring, high-octane set from Hockey Dad, approximately 20 people spontaneously stormed the stage, and took turns taking selfies as they jumped into the crowd in an attempt to crowd surf.
After such a dramatic set, it was almost comical watching the more conservative Gab Strum, aka Japanese Wallpaper, take to the stage. While the previous bands were a frenzy of sweat-inducing intensity, Japanese Wallpaper encompasses the very opposite, proving to be a breath of fresh air in the grungy, rock-plastered atmosphere. With a minimalistic setup of a laptop and a few mixing decks, the lone 17-year-old refreshed the crowd with his clean brand of indie electronica.
For much of the set, he was tapping away on his electronic pad. As if by magic, a slap on the pad with one of his drumsticks summoned a multitude of instruments. No longer the testosterone infused mosh, a single purple balloon floated around the now subdued crowd. Japanese Wallpaper is known for his collaborations, ensnaring Pepa Knight of Jinja Safari and Wafia for two of his most well-known songs. But with their absence, he chose to alternate using their recording and his own vocals.
It was his two most familiar songs, Breathe In and Between Friends, which drew the biggest crowd response. Creating an intricately layered sound, the songs each burst with silky smooth crescendos, with a lot of the appeal found in the music’s restraint. With a rapturous applause and a sea of swaying hands, his set came to a close.
Finishing off the night was Millions, who returned the Metro to its previous rock heavy atmosphere. Appropriately last, they represented what the warm up acts aspired to — a set filled with polished, infectious songs delivered with conviction. Though they feigned a sense of remote boredom, it only added to their laid back image, and though rushed for time, theirs was a fittingly explosive set to finish a varied, and somewhat dramatic afternoon.