As I rolled in to the UC Refectory, I had to make my way past a line of 30 young and excited teens. The doors weren’t open yet and these kids, eager and giddy, were doing all they could do get the security guards’ attention to let them in. This was a bitter-sweet moment as unfortunately, my band Atlantis Awaits had to pull out of the show at the last minute due to our band member Tegan suffering from a chest infection – I was disappointed yet keen to simply be a patron for the night and enjoy some good music.

First to take the stage was fresh-faced Cam Nacson. The acoustic act was impressive, not only because of his youth but for his inspired song writing ability. Coming down from Sydney after receiving the call up a day earlier, Cam served up a seemingly well rehearsed introduction to the night. The crowd (though meagre at this early stage of the night) took kindly to the youngster and he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Next up was young 4-piece Drift Ashore performing an acoustic set – also having only a day’s notice to prepare. While their performance wasn’t awe-inspiring, the room for potential for these guys is huge. They looked the part, dressed in their Sunday best and their songs were ok. I’d be very keen to see what they have to offer plugged in and electric with the full band arrangement, without the acoustics. I’ll be keeping tabs on these lads for sure. I overheard a couple sniggering in the corner “Looks like ‘One Direction’ gone wrong” (like, totally clever!) but it seems inevitable that any young, all-boy band emerging these days will garner similar comparisons.

As the night wore on and the drinks continued to flow, I was more than excited when it came time for the next act to belt out some tunes. Having toured with these lads last year with my own band, I was keen to hear some new material and see what they had in store. Sound of Seasons blew me away once again. The ridiculously high-pitched vocals from lead singer Marcus Bridge were spot on and literally had jaws dropping all over the place. His energy and flamboyant stage presence was simply captivating. The quintet was the standout act in my book, flawlessly rocking through their polished set. The decision to bring their own sound guy served them well as they had the best mix of the night. With hit songs like “All Over Me” and “Sweet Decline” and a new EP on the way, I’d put money on these guys taking Australia by storm over the next 6 months.

Having seen We Rob Banks perform their first ever show 2 years ago, I was keen to see what the Melbourne 5-piece would bring to the table. Led by petit-but-powerful front woman Rebecca Hammond, the rockers impressed the young Canberra crowd and showed how far they’d come since their debut show. Jeremy Park was a monster behind the drum kit and seemed to be having more fun than anyone. I had a discussion with a delighted patron who described WRB as “Closure in Moscow with a chick singer”. I’d say that’s pretty accurate. The guys and gal showed just why they were the main support act and finished their set with their energetic single, “Headlights”. I can’t wait to see more of these guys follow their journey further.

As the lights dimmed and the smoke machine blasted; the crowd, previously scattered around the venue, made their way to the front of the stage. Everyone was there for Drawing North. The excitement in the air grew as the band launched into their intro led by the drummer, Drew who was annihilating the drums at the back. Looking around the Refectory, it was great to see so many eager fans, friends and family there cheering them on. I know how much time, effort and energy when into creating this new record ‘Of Sand and Stone’, and it meant a lot to them for everyone to come and show their unwavering support

These guys have plenty of crowd-favourite songs however Timepiece and Harbour were definitely the standouts. There were give-aways, crowd participation, guitar twirls, somersaults… you name it! The band rocked harder than I’d ever seen them play and they really stepped up and showed how far they’ve come in the past few years.

After the show, it was great to see all the bands hanging out with everyone by the merchandise tables, and even more impressive was the amount of gear sold. As the crowd began to dwindle, some bands were exhausted and ready for sleep and others heading back to Sydney. For those who were left and intent on enjoying themselves, the night had only just begun.

Band members stayed to mingle with the crowd and enjoy a few drinks. From there, everything gets a little hazy. What I do know is that after copious amounts of tequila shots, I’ve got 3 members of We Rob Banks at my house who were tired, hungry and trying to figure out where they were.

Props to Harmony Events for putting on an awesome show and to UC Live for hosting it; (you don’t see many licensed all ages shows for Canberra bands these days!) It’s a shame there wasn’t a bigger turnout, but for those who did make it out; they were treated to an awesome night of good music and entertainment, you can’t ask for more than that.

Photography by Hannah Allen